What is the effect of music of different tempos on post-exercise recovery time?
Adam Gierej
Stratford Hall
Floor Location : M 098 H

Physical activity is an important part of staying healthy. Keeping physically in shape and having a healthy BMI (body mass index) is directly correlated to a longer life expectancy as it significantly reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer. To stay in shape, one must regularly engage in physical exercise, and also have enough time to recover after it.

The purpose of this experiment was to measure whether music of different tempos had an impact on post-exercise recovery rate (when the heart rate beat of the volunteer decelerated back to the level it was before exercise). This experiment was conducted with four volunteers, two male and two female to create an equal gender-ratio to ensure the results are balanced. The volunteers first had the BPM (beats per minute) of their heart rate measured using an Apple Watch, before than engaging in exercise using a modified version of the Harvard Step Test. The recovery rate of each individual was then recorded after exercise, with a different modification each day. For example, on the first day, the volunteers listened to no music while they recovered, but on the second day, listened to music of a fast tempo. The music played was Spring by Vivaldi, a classic music piece, with its tempo modified to be either 20% faster (120 beats per minute), 20% slower (80 beats per minute), or at its natural tempo (100 beats per minute)

The results of the experiment showed that when listening to music with slower tempo, the volunteers recovered much faster than they did when listening to no music, fast music, or music at the natural tempo. For example, first volunteer Evan when listening to no music fully recovered after ten minute, but when listening to music of a slow tempo recovered after two minutes and thirty-seconds. This represents a significant increase in recovery time, which has a great deal of real-world implications. For example, professional athletes when they have to repeat the same event multiple times in quick successions, would want to listen to slow music in-between playing as they would be able to recover faster and be able to perform repeatedly at a greater level.
This research also has implication for the average person and their exercise routines. For example when pressed for time, such as when exercising during lunch break and returning to work immediately after, one may choose to listen to a slower selection of music, which guarantees faster recovery and minimizes sweating. Alternatively a person that wants to extend calories burning effect long after exercise is done, would possibly choose faster pace music (or no music at all) to extend post-exercise recovery.