Effects of slow tempo music on perceptions of time and exercise exertion

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Hassmén, P, Toohey, B & Stevens, CJ 2018, 'Effects of slow tempo music on perceptions of time and exercise exertion', Medicina Sportiva, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 2986-2991.

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Exercise has many health benefits. Despite this, motivating people to start exercising is difficult. Maintaining a regular exercise regimen seems even more difficult as dropout-rates within the first 3–6 months commonly reaches 50%. Music during exercise has, however, been found to make it more enjoyable, significantly reducing perceived exertion and positively affecting mood and state motivation. Most research has focused on fast to medium tempo music. Slow tempo music has largely remained unexplored, which is why it is the focus in this study. Material and Method. Participants (n=24) were exposed on two occasions in randomized order to slow tempo music versus a silent control condition while performing exercise on a treadmill for 20 minutes at 70% of age predicted maximal heart rate. Results. A significant interaction was revealed between ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and music preference (p<.05). Although there was a small difference between RPE for people who liked the music, people who disliked the music reported significantly higher RPE when listening to the music (M = 13.5, SD = 1.8) compared to when not (M = 11.7, SD = 1.6). No significant difference between estimated exercise-time was observed between the two conditions; competitiveness was also unrelated to the dependent variables. Discussion. Our results suggest that avoiding nonenjoyable music is important while exercising as both perceived exertion and exercise adherence otherwise can be negatively affected. It is noteworthy that choosing the “wrong music” may be more detrimental than selecting the “right music” is beneficial.

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