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Are you still feeling inspired by the Olympics? Hold that feeling and maximise it by adding in the right mix of music to exercise to. Music with the right beat could hold the key to running efficiently and keeping you going for longer, according to a leading sports psychologist.
Professor Andy Lane, from the University of Wolverhampton, explains that music can trick your mind into feeling less tired during a workout, especially repetitive movement exercises such as running.
His research into the effects of music can be found on the Livewell section of the NHS website, along with his tips and other advice on healthy living.
He says: “One of the key objectives in terms of creating a legacy following the Olympics was to get the nation active, but getting started and staying motivated can be a challenge.
“Research suggests that listening to music while exercising can reduce perceptions of effort and fatigue by up to 12 per cent. If you’re listening to music while running, it can distract you from the actual effort of running – you are listening to the beat of a song rather than thump coming from your heartbeat.
“What’s more, research suggests that if you keep in step with the music, your stride will be more rhythmical and therefore more efficient. Tests on walkers found that walking in time to a musical beat improved endurance by 15 per cent.”
All music has a beats per minute (bpm) – for example Rihanna’s Don’t Stop the Music has 123bpm. Most people find 150bpm a gentle pace and by 190bpm they are running as hard as they can.
Professor Lane, from the University’s School of Sport Performing Arts and Leisure, also says that if you’re making a playlist for your workout, you should also make sure that it fits the type of workout you’re planning to do.
“If you want to go for an easy run, select music with a lower bpm such as Search for the Hero by M People (100bpm).
“If you’re feeling more energetic, choose songs with a higher bpm, such as I See You Baby by Groove Armada (128bpm). Whatever you choose, make sure it’s music you enjoy listening to,” he adds.
“Music can help you get into exercise mode. Have a few motivational songs at the start of your playlist that you can play as you’re getting ready. The simple act of pressing ‘play’ flicks a switch in your mind to signal that your session has begun and in a short time you will be out of the door.”
Professor Lane’s tips appear on the NHS