Runners ran longer when they listened to upbeat music, and their increased stamina can show you how to boost your own fitness program. Upbeat music makes you want to exercise longer and stick with a daily exercise program, researchers said. They reached that conclusion after putting 127 people to an electrocardiogram (ECG) treadmill stress test. Study participants who listened to up-tempo tunes through headphones ran past those who had no music for motivation. The beat kept them going for almost one whole minute longer than those who didn’t have tunes playing in their ears.
“At least on a small scale, this study provides some evidence that music may help serve as an extra tool to help motivate someone to exercise more, which is critical to heart health,” said study leader Dr. Waseem Shami. ‘I think it’s something we intuitively knew, but we found to be true.”
The treadmill stress test is widely used to measure the effects of exercise on the heart. Earlier studies have examined how music might affect specific markers of heart health. The latest research by Texas Tech University researchers is the first to evaluate the impact of music on exercise tolerance during cardiac stress testing.
Participants were asked to run for as long as they could during a test that can be very tough. The treadmill’s speed and incline are increased every three minutes during a cardiac stress test. After six minutes, runners feel as though they’re running up a mountain, said Shami. Adding 50 seconds to enduring the test means a lot. Shami, a cardiology fellow at Texas Tech, said even a small increase in exercise time can have a huge impact on heart health.
Shami said most healthy people usually last for seven to eight minutes. The runners in the study pushed their endurance to eight and a half minutes on average if they were listening to music. They outlasted those who had no music by- 51 seconds or more than 10 per cent longer. Those results led researchers to suggest doctors should consider prescribing music when they encourage patients to exercise more.
He told Cardiology Today his inspiration to conduct the experiment came when he was out for a run and he lost music when the battery on his phone died. “There was no more music and I really didn’t feel like running anymore,” he said. “I thought that was strange. I had the ability to run the same amount that I always run, and then suddenly without the music, I didn’t want to run anymore.
Researchers will present their results at the American College of Cardiology’s 67th Annual Scientific Session in Florida this month. The average age of participants in the study is 53.