By Yael Brender
The study of music as motivation for exercise has been examined for over twenty years by Dr Costas Karageorghis, a sports psychology expert at Brunel University in London.
Songs can help you reach all your fitness goals – but you have to choose the right songs and play them at the right time.
There is a tempo ‘sweet spot’ – between 120 and 140 beats per minute – that is most beneficial to your exercise regimen.
This tempo will encourage you to work out longer and harder, agrees Dr David-Lee Priest, psychologist and researcher at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England.
If you’re an elite athlete, then music won’t help you much, but if you exercise at a moderate level an average of three times a week, then music will definitely help, Priest says.
Karageorghis recommends choosing music that matches your heart rate. For instance, start with a slower song that has a tempo within the 80-90 BPM range. “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes and “Twilight” by Cover Drive are ideal for warm-up and warm-down sessions.
When you want to get your heart rate up to a moderately intense level though, opt for a song with a faster beat. Anything within the 120-140 BPM range is ideal; “Starships” by Nicki Minaj is 125BMP, “Domino” by Jessie J is 127BMP and “Turn Me On” by David Guetta is 128BPM. Songs over 140BMP are unlikely to improve performance.
But take it easy on your ears! Don’t blast the volume – even in the short term, listening to music too loudly can lead to a slight pressure build up in the ear, ringing in the ears and temporary hearing loss, according to audiologist Michael Chasin, director of auditory research at the Musicians’ Clinics of Canada.
Long term consequences include permanent ear damage, according to Brian Fligor, director of diagnostic audiology at Boston Children’s Hospital.
You could even develop chronic tinnitus, which is continuous ringing in the ears. Fligor’s advice is to abide by the 80-90 rule – listen at 80% of full volume for no more than 90 minutes per day. Chasin adds that moderation is key – blast your favourite song at 90%, and then turn it down to about 60% to prevent high volume listening from becoming a habit.
By BB Intern Yael Brender
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