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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 23:18 GMT 00:18 UK
Music boosts sporting performance
Image of joggers
Joggers could try Michael Jackson's "Don't stop til you get enough"
If you want to get the most out of your fitness regime think carefully about the type of music you listen to while exercising, a UK study suggests.

Dr Costas Karageorghis, of Brunel University, found listening to the right songs before and during training boosts performance by up to 20%.

He recommends fast tempo music for high intensity exercise and slower tracks to help with the warm up and cool down.

The speed of the music is the key, whether it be classical, rock or pop.

Music to sweat to

Dr Karageorghis says individuals need to create their own play list according to their personal music preferences and the intensity of activity in which they are engaged.

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Just before sport, loud, up-beat music can be used as a stimulant or slow, soft music can be used to calm pre-performance nerves.

For example, James Cracknell, who rowed to glory and into the record books at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, said that listening to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' album "Blood Sugar Sex Magik" was an integral part of his pre-race preparation.

The Olympic super-heavyweight champion Audley Harrison listens to Japanese classical music before a fight to calm his nerves, said Dr Karageorghis.

As exercise begins, the music tempo can be synchronised to work rates to help regulate movement and prolong performance.

During this phase music can also help to narrow attention and divert your mind from sensations of fatigue.

The right tempo

Dr Karageorghis said: "It's no secret that music inspires superior performance.

"The sound of 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot' reverberating around a rugby stadium is an example of how music can provide great inspiration and instil pride in the players.

Very fast tempo for highest intensity exercise eg) very hard running
Rock: The Heat Is On - Glenn Frey
Pop: Reach - S Club 7
Soul/R 'n' B: Everybody Needs Somebody to Love - The Blues Brothers
Classical: William Tell Overture - Rossini
Fast tempo for high exercise intensity eg) working hard on an exercise bike
Rock: Born to be Wild - Steppenwolf
Pop: Movin' Too Fast - Artful Dodger & Romina Johnson
Soul/R 'n' B:I Feel Good - James Brown
Classical:Troika - Prokofiev
Medium tempo for medium intensity exercise eg) a gentle run or leisurely swim
Rock: Keep on Running - The Spencer Davis Group
Pop: Don't Stop Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
Soul/R 'n' B: I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
Classical: Radetzky March - Johann Strauss
Slow tempo for low intensity exercise eg) weight lifting or speedwalking
Rock: The Best - Tina Turner
Pop: Lifted - Lighthouse Family
Soul/R 'n' B:Back to Life - Soul II Soul
Classical: Spring, from The Four Seasons - Vivaldi

"However, our recent research shows that there's no definitive play list for today's gym-goers or tomorrow's sporting heroes.

"Songs are particular to an individual - they are not prescriptive. So it's up to the individual to select songs that drive them and inspire them."

He said the athletes he trains had seen an 18% improvement in adherence to exercise regimes with the help of the right music.

He believes gyms and health clubs should offer a wide choice of music to suit their clients' needs.

For example, those on running machines should listen to music with a very fast tempo, whilst those who are weight training would benefit from medium tempo music coupled with inspirational lyrics.

"Rather than blasting out the same music loudly in all areas of the gym, it would be better to turn the volume down so those on the treadmills and bicycles can tune into personal music selections, while those in weight training rooms can hear the uplifting beat of the background music," he said.

John Brewer, director of the Lucozade Sports Science Academy, said: "This confirms what we have suspected and known anecdotally for years.

"Music does have an impact on physical performance.

"If you go into the dressing room of any premiership league football club on a Saturday afternoon you will certainly see the players in there listening to music to psyche them up and get them ready for the performance."

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