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Army June 23, 2011
HERE are some practical consid-
erations when selecting music to
accompany your exercise program:
Task specificity: Marry the
music to the activity you are
undertaking and the psychologi-
cal effect you want to experi-
Consider the tempo: Is the
speed of the music and its
rhythm ideal for the activity you
Lyrical affirmations: Do the
lyrics contain positive affirma-
tions of exercise such as 'work
your body' or 'push it'?
Imagery: Does the music cre-
ate imagery in your mind that is
Personal meaning: Does the
music remind you of a passage
in your life that evokes positive
Cultural congruency: Does he
music emanate from the genre
which you grew up with or
which you closely identify with?
Melody/harmony: Does the
music possess a pleasing
melody and harmony, which
improves your mood?
Exposure/familiarity: Are you
familiar with the music without
finding it tiresome owing to
Source: Karageorghis & Priest, in Peak
Performance, issue 297, March 2011.
Beating it to the gym
Music is the best gym buddy you can have,
reports Cpl Melanie Schinkel.
Rowing to the rhythm: Sychronisation of music with movement improves
Photo by LS Paul Berry
FOR Physical Training
Instructor Sgt Shane Duncan,
music is an absolute necessi-
ty when it comes to enhanc-
ing his fitness classes for Army
Sgt Duncan said participants in
his classes enjoyed training to music
because it lifted their overall mood
"Music inspires people and it also
masks the Maria Sharapova-inspired
sounds of physical exertion," Sgt
"It can also set off light-hearted
communication between participants
and I find the beat encourages them
to work harder at set points of an
"However, music is not desirable
in all of my classes. Sometimes instruc-
tion specific skills need to be taught, so
I require a participant's undivided atten-
tion. This applies to activities such as
rope or rock climbing."
Why does music appear to affect
our physical performance? A study
into this has found that listening to
music distracts the mind from fatigue
and improves aerobic endurance.
Researchers Costas Karageorghis
and David-Lee Priest from Brunel
University in West London have con-
ducted studies over 20 years into the
impact of music on performance.
Their studies reveal that it is pri-
marily through influencing your men-
tal state that music enhances physical
performance. Here are some of the
Dissociation: During low-to-
moderate intensity music can divert
your attention from the sensations of
effort and fatigue. This reduces your
perception of how hard you are work-
ing through a process psychologists
refer to as dissociation. The distrac-
tion provided by music can also make
you feel better.
Arousal: music can alter emo-
tional and physiological arousal much
like a stimulant or sedative. It is in this
capacity that we often see music used
in sport as part of a pre-task routine,
most often to 'psych-up' an athlete.
Music also has the capacity to stimu-
late through its rhythm, tempo and
Rhythm response: synchronisa-
tion of movement with music leads
to greater endurance and movement
efficiency. This applies especially
to repetitive activities such as row-
ing, cycling, cross-country skiing
and running. Synchronous music
improves aerobic endurance by up
to 15 per cent. Music in the tempo
range 125-140 beats per minute is
ideal for any exercise in which the
goal is to elevate the heart rate.
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