Most people already know what studies show: listening to music during exercise motivates you to exercise longer and harder. Plus, music helps you forget fatigue! But it is not just about choosing the songs you like. There is some science behind it. Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett recommends choosing the right workout songs for your playlist because the tempo and beats per minute (BPM) can affect the effectiveness of your workouts.
“You go all the way back to rowers on the Roman Galleys,” says Carl Foster, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, Exercise and Health Program. “The guy is sitting there beating on his drum and he drives the basic rhythm of the rowing. Part of that is coordination—you want the rowers to row together—but part of it is that people will naturally follow a tempo. It’s just something about the way our brains work.”
Beat the Tempo
Two different songs with the same tempo can have very different impacts on how we exercise. A workout song’s BPM should be between 120 and 140, which roughly corresponds to the average person's heart rate during a workout. The musical style that consistently contains a high BPM is dance music which you often hear in Jazzercise class or played in dance clubs.
Dance to the Music
“Music is like a legal drug for athletes,” says Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., from London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education, one of the world’s leading authorities on music and exercise. “It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.” Music also provides a timing cue by helping you to move more efficiently, which, in turn, can help your endurance.
The best workout songs have both a high BPM count and a rhythm which enables you to coordinate your movements. Synchronous music tends to drive exercise intensity—the faster the beat, the higher the intensity.
The Jazzercise playlist (available from iTunes) includes today’s hit music that is played in class. You’ll find songs like Woman’s World, by Cher (128BPM); Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore featuring Ryan Lewis (143 BPM); and Proud Mary by John Fogerty (146 BPM). This combination of artists helps customers increase their heartrate as the class progresses.
Choose the perfect workout playlist and you can burn even more calories and maximize every movement, while listening to all your favorite songs! Now, that's music to our ears.