Is classical music the key to a better workout?

Caroline Cassidy

Put away the banging drum 'n' bass and the pumped up running tunes - according to experts, the key to a more effective workout could be classical music.

Classical music could produce better workout results
Classical music could produce better workout results

Pic: Getty

Though most gym-goers no doubt opt for fast-paced dance music to get them in the mood for a fitness push, neuroscientist Jack Lewis believes more calming background music may produce better results.

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After studying previous research in the field, Dr Lewis, an independent consultant, found that while any kind of music encourages people to exercise harder and longer, classical music helps to relax the body too.

He told the Daily Mail: "Energetic but not overly-fast classical music can be ideal in the gym.

"Not only does upbeat music increase speed, strength and endurance, but the relaxing qualities of classical music appear to reduce heart rate, blood pressure and lower perceived exertion at the same time."

Dr Lewis added: "In addition, relaxing music has been shown to lower levels of cortisol in the body, the hormone associated with stress."

While he suggested that the fourth movement of Beethoven's Symphony No 4 might prove the ideal, other genres have their time and place too. Following his research, commissioned by music streaming website, Dr Lewis advised that matching music to heartbeat is helpful.
He suggested Michael Jackson's Rock With You for a warm-up, Beethoven as the heart rate increases to 140bpm, and Tinie Tempah's Pass Out for the hard and fast section of the workout. And to cool down, try Johnny Cash's Heart of Gold.

Dr Lewis also recommends choosing music that "means something to you personally".

He explained: "Research shows that the premotor cortex, an area of the brain involved in the planning of movement, is stimulated when subjects have been played music hat is beautiful to the ear. Tracks we are not so keen on are less effective in stimulating this region."

What music gets you going when you work out? Leave your comments below...