Since its fall there are tons of marathons throughout the country. For runners the three most important things are their broken-in shoes , heart rate monitor, and their tunes. Trying to exercise let alone run can be difficult if you don’t have music blaring in your ear.

The music provides runners with motivation, distraction, and even inspiration. Because of the tie between the factors researchers have been trying to discover the close connection between our ears and feet. Sports psychologist Costas Karageorghis has been trying to understand the connection between moving and music for 20 years.

Through research he has discovered that there are four factors contributing to a songs motivation qualities: rhythm response, musicality, cultural impact and association. The first two are known as “internal” factors as they relate to the music’s structure while the second two are “external” factors which reflect our interpretations of the music.

Karageorghis explains that rhythm response is linked to beats per minute of the song and how well it matches the heartbeat of the runner. The song structure such as melody and harmony also contributes to the musicality of the song. The external factors are also important because the genre of music we prefer and what we’ve learned to associate with specific songs and artists also influences our output while exercising.

Science has proven that by syncing beats per minute with your pace can increase your efficiency. A recent study found that individuals that cycled to music required 7 percent less oxygen than others who did the same amount of work that just listened to music in the background. Music can also help you block out the idea that its time to quit.

The current study shows that when our hearts perform between 30 and 70 percent of the maximum, we prefer an increase from 90 to 120 bpm. However when our anaerobic threshold is between 70 and 80 percent of maximum, we prefer a jump in rhythm from 120 to 150 bpm. But when it reaches above 80 percent of our maximum heart rate, faster music isn’t preferred.

Researchers even found that if they increased or decreased the speed of a song by 10 percent the listener didn’t notice but it had an impact on performance. Speeding up the music led to an increase in the distance covered in the same amount of time. Then when they slowed down the music the distance also decreased. Researchers concluded that when exercising individuals match their work effort with the tempo of the music they’re listening too.

Since picking the right music can boost the workout that you’re getting in the same amount of time; there are great tools that can help you match bpm with your music. You can create a custom playlist on your iTunes library which allows you the ability to arrange songs in several different tempos that you can cater to your warm-up and warm-downs along with the body of you workout.

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