Aim: Past research indicates that endurance is improved when exercise movements are synchronised with a musical beat, however it is unclear whether such benefits are associated with reduced metabolic cost. We compared oxygen consumption (.VO2) and related physiological effects of exercise conducted synchronously and asynchronously with music.
Methods: Three music tracks, each recorded at three different tempi (123, 130, and 137 beats.min-1), accompanied cycle ergometry at 65 pedal revolutions.min-1. Thus three randomly-assigned experimental conditions were administered: slow tempo asynchronous, synchronous, and fast tempo asynchronous. Exercise response of .VO2, HR, and ratings of perceived exertion (RPE), to each condition was monitored in 10 untrained male participants aged 21.7±0.8 years (mean±SD) who cycled for 12 min at 70% maximal heart rate (HR).
Results: Mean .VO2 differed among conditions (P=0.008), being lower in the synchronous (1.80±0.22 L.min-1) compared to the slow tempo asynchronous condition (1.94±0.21 L.min-1; P<0.05). There was no difference in HR or RPE among conditions, although HR showed a similar trend to .VO2.
Conclusion: The present results indicate that exercise is more efficient when performed synchronously with music than when musical tempo is slightly slower than the rate of cyclical movement.