Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Fitness & Exercise

Font Size

Upbeat Music Boosts Exercise Intensity

Music Tempo Alters Your Workout
WebMD Health News

Oct. 17, 2003 -- Tuning into your favorite fast-paced tunes at the gym may be a sound way to jumpstart your workout.

New research now shows what many Walkman enthusiasts have known for years: listening to upbeat music during exercise can increase the intensity and speed of your workout.

Despite music's popularity at the gym, researchers say few studies have looked at how different types of music affect how intensely people exercise.

Faster Music, Faster Feet

In this study, researchers examined how listening to different music tempos changed exercise intensity and performance.

Healthy volunteers pedaled a stationary bicycle for 60 minutes while listening to prepared audiotapes with music of varying tempo (no tempo, slow, medium, or fast tempo). The cyclists were free to change gears, and the only instructions given were to ride as they felt.

The study showed that pedaling cadence (speed) increased as the tempo of the music increased, ranging from 76 rpm to 84 rpm (no tempo to fast tempo). The heart rate and power output of the cyclists also varied according to the music's tempo and increased as the tempo quickened.

The results of the study were presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Kansas City, Mo.

Researchers say the findings show that musical tempo has a small, but significant impact on spontaneous exercise intensity.

Healthy Living Tools

Ditch Those Inches

Set goals, tally calorie intake, track workouts and more, all via WebMD’s free Food & Fitness Planner.

Get Started

Today on WebMD

Wet feet on shower floor tile
Flat Abs
Build a Better Butt Slideshow
woman using ice pack

man exercising
7 most effective exercises
Man looking at watch before workout
Overweight man sitting on park bench
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Build a Fitter Family Challenge – Get your crew motivated to move.
Feed Your Family Better Challenge - Tips and tricks to healthy up your diet.
Sleep Better Challenge - Snooze clues for the whole family.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply

pilates instructor
jogger running among flowering plants
Teen girl jogging
Taylor Lautner