For many years we have known that exercise is important in increasing life expectancy for everyone, and it also forms a component of rehabilitation programs that can reduce mortality by about 20% in those who have suffered from various heart ailments. But individuals often do not adhere to the recommended amount of exercise. Adjusting music to personal tastes and, above all, tempo-pace, could be the key to success, write Canadian researchers recently in the journal, Sports Medicine.
We’re all involved in—or at least witness to—group exercise programs that add music to get “the juices flowing.” It has also long been known that music enhances adherence to regular training and performance in competitive athletes, even when performed individually.
The study referred to above, which was carried out by the Toronto Health Network, included 34 patients who participated in a cardiac rehab program. One third of the study subjects did not listen to music while exercising; the other two thirds listened to personalized playlists. Half of this group was unaware of the fact that, by using a special device, the rhythm of their music had been synchronized to their exercising tempo.
People who listened to tempo-pace synchronized music did an average of 70% more exercise than patients who did not listen to music. They also had the greatest increase in physical fitness than the other two groups.
“The music tempo-pace synchronization helps cue the person to take their next step or stride and helps regulate, maintain and reinforce their prescribed exercise plan”, explained study author David Alter. “If a 65 year-old man would sustain the average increase in exercise reached in this study, this would equal a life expectancy increase of 2.5 years”, he emphasized.
Exercise is generally more effective when carried out in group settings. As I have noted previously (5/15/15), group walking is more apt to achieve greater adherence rates and yield better fitness levels, even without the addition of music.
While this combined music/group activity cited above pertains to those individuals who have previously suffered some type of heart problem, it should extend to the population at large. Maybe those fitness clubs that have used the combination of music and exercise knew something important to health all along! Even the individual at home can take advantage of this combination, for there are various TV programs that combine music with group workouts, allowing one to regularly follow along in his/her own living room!