A new study has suggested that the type of music you jam out to while exercising can change your experience at the gym. 

Researchers found that high-tempo music that is the equivalent of a heart beating at least 170 beats per minute (BPM) can help not only inspire bursts of effort during exercise but also boost your mood before working out.

Songs include R&B hits such as Single Ladies by Beyoncé and the rap track Lose Yourself by Eminem.


The team, from the University of Verona and the University of Milan in Italy, says it hopes the findings encourage people to exercise and also help people improve their workout routines.

For the study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, the team recruited female volunteers to either walk on a treadmill or use a leg press.

They either performed the exercise in silence or completed the session while listening to music at different tempos including low (90-110 BPM), medium (130-150 BPM) and high (170-190 BPM). 

The volunteers were asked questions about the effort it took to complete the exercises and their heart rates were analyzed. 


Researchers found that high-tempo music helped boost mood before exercising and motivated the participants to have bursts for effort and endurance during workouts. 

It also helped distract from the fatigue and discomfort that exercise often brings.

While the team did not provide specific examples of songs, there are a number of websites in which you can type in a song title and see what it equates to in terms of beats per minute. 

Some examples include:

Lose Yourself by Eminem – 171 BPM
Candyman by Christina Aguilera – 173 BPM
Frank Sinatra’s Party by Paul McCartney – 174 BPM 
The Anthem by Good Charlotte – 178 BPM
Single Ladies by Beyoncé – 193 BPM


The effects were more noticeable in the volunteers walking on a treadmill than those doing the leg presses.

This suggests that listening to high-tempo music may provide the most benefits to those who perform endurance activities including walking, jogging and running. 

‘We found that listening to high-tempo music while exercising resulted in the highest heart rate and lowest perceived exertion compared with not listening to music,’ said co-author Dr Luca Ardigò, a professor in the department of neurosciences, biomedicine and movement sciences at the University of Verona in Italy.

‘This means that the exercise seemed like less effort, but it was more beneficial in terms of enhancing physical fitness.’

The findings are similar to those from a 2011 study from Brunel University in the UK, which found that fast tempo increased the intensity at which people cycled. 


For future research, the team wants to perform a larger scale study and look at music’s potential effects on exercise beyond tempo. 

‘In the future we would also like to study the effects of other music features such as genre, melody, or lyrics, on endurance and high intensity exercise,’ said Dr Ardigò. 

-Adapted from the Daily Mail