January 10, 2008


They’re Playing My Song. Time to Work Out. (STEVEN KURUTZ, 1/10/08, NY Times)

The playlist fixation has a scientific basis: Studies have shown that listening to music during exercise can improve results, both in terms of being a motivator (people exercise longer and more vigorously to music) and as a distraction from negatives like fatigue. But are certain songs more effective than others?

Generally speaking there is a science to choosing an effective exercise soundtrack, said Dr. Costas Karageorghis, an associate professor of sport psychology at Brunel University in England, who has studied the effects of music on physical performance for 20 years. Dr. Karageorghis created the Brunel Music Rating Inventory, a questionnaire that is used to rate the motivational qualities of music in the context of sport and exercise. For nearly a decade, he has been administering the questionnaire to panels representing different demographics, who listen to 90 seconds of a song and rate its motivational qualities for various physical activities.

One of the most important elements, Dr. Karageorghis found, is a song’s tempo, which should be between 120 and 140 beats-per-minute, or B.P.M. That pace coincides with the range of most commercial dance music, and many rock songs are near that range, which leads people to develop “an aesthetic appreciation for that tempo,” he said. It also roughly corresponds to the average person’s heart rate during a routine workout — say, 20 minutes on an elliptical trainer by a person who is more casual exerciser than fitness warrior.

...listen to books interesting enough that you don't feel like you're completely wasting your time.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 10, 2008 3:37 PM

Footloose, Simply Irresistable, All I ever wanted (Santana), any AC/DC, Most Collective Soul, most Rolling Stones.

Reading? Ugh, detracts from both the work out and the book.

Posted by: Bruno at January 10, 2008 5:56 PM

you need to start getting into the podcast, itunes, subscribe to lehrer, national review, dennis miller, tom ashbrook, fresh air, new yorker campaign trail, mike and the mad dog, dennis and callahan, michael kay and if you are feeling loose, alan colmes. you'll have plenty to listen to through out the day. between that and your playlists you'll never be out of options for all moods and routines.

Posted by: neil at January 10, 2008 11:28 PM