Exercise can be made more enjoyable with the right soundtrack, UBC Okanagan researcher says. (Files)

Fast music can lead to a better workout: UBC Okanagan researcher

Upbeat tunes can make HIIT exercise more enjoyable, easier for less-active individuals

The right soundtrack could be key to the best workout, UBC Okanagan researchers found. Even for people who are insufficiently active.

Matthew Stork, a postdoctoral fellow in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences, published a study showing music can help less-active people get more out of their workouts while boosting their enjoyment of it.

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, as it’s known, involves repeated bursts of intense exercise split up by short rest breaks. This form of exercise has been shown to improve physical health over several weeks of training, but can be perceived by exercisers as gruelling work.

READ MORE: B.C.’s health officer releases annual report on health targets

“While HIIT is time-efficient and can elicit meaningful health benefits among adults who are insufficiently active, one major drawback is that people may find it to be unpleasant,” Stork said. “As a result, this has the potential to discourage continued participation.”

Stork worked with Prof. Costas Karageorghis—a world-renowned researcher who studies the effects of music on sport and exercise—to conduct the study at Brunel University London.

READ MORE: Lake Country mental health facility takes holistic approach to recovery

Stork gathered a panel of British adults to rate the motivational qualities of 16 fast-tempo songs. Three songs with the highest motivational ratings were used in the study.

“Music is typically used as a dissociative strategy,” he said. “This means that it can draw your attention away from the body’s physiological responses to exercise such as increased heart rate and sore muscles.

“But, with high-intensity exercise, it seems that music is most effective when it has a fast tempo and is highly motivational,” Stork said.

Twenty-four subjects were put through the “one-minute workout” comprised of three 20-second sprints totalling 60 seconds. A short break separated each sprint for a total of 10 minutes with a warm-up and cool down. Each subject conducted the regimen with music, without music and while listening to a podcast.

READ MORE: Interior Health and First Nations renew Partnership Accord

“The more I look into this, the more I am surprised,” Stork said. “We believed that motivational music would help people enjoy the exercise more, but we were surprised about the elevated heart rate. That was a novel finding.”

That elevated heartbeat, Stork said, could be explained by a phenomenon called “entrainment.”

“Humans have an innate tendency to alter the frequency of their biological rhythms toward that of musical rhythms,” he said. “In this case, the fast-tempo music may have increased people’s heart rate during the exercise.

“It’s incredible how powerful music can be.”

READ MORE: Kelowna clothing company sews mental health awareness in apparel

This is good news for those struggling with working out, as Stork’s findings show music can help individuals work harder physically during HIIT while making it more enjoyable.

“Music can be a practical strategy to help insufficiently active people get more out of their HIIT workouts and may even encourage continued participation,” Stork said.


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pauquachin First Nation calls on North Saanich to help restore shellfish in Coles Bay

The nation identifies ‘residential onsite septic systems’ as one of sources of contamination

No architect for Langford building ruled ‘unreasonable’ by B.C. Supreme Court

Legal action brought against City in 2019 for permit issued on Hoffman Avenue building

Pool deck turns patio as Saanich restaurant cooks up creative outdoor seating options

District supports local businesses such as The Lakes Restaurant in creating seating

Sidney/North Saanich RCMP look for Lochside Drive robbery suspect

One man arrested with a second man on the run following May 1 robbery

Victoria police make arrest in connection to string of James Bay fires

50-year-old man faces recommended arson charges for May 14 fires

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

Most Read