Going Going Bike

Oct 132010

In the first of what we hope might become an irregular feature on Going Going Bike, Dr Al provides his medical expertise on cycling related health issues – today: the effects of music on cycling performance

With a recent post on “should I, shouldn’t I listen to music whilst cycling” (Ed. following a hotly discussed Thursday Throwdown on our facebook page) I thought some scientific food for thought on the subject would be interesting.

In a recent article in the Int. Journal of Sports Medicine the effects of music introduced and removed during a 10-km cycling time trial were examined. A range of performance variables were assessed that included ratings of perceived exertion, how good/bad the riders felt and blood lactate levels (which is an indicator of muscles working).

The study found there were no significant effects of music on the performance variables. But the study did find the riders were slightly faster (1.25km/h) when the music was introduced.

Most other studies however, have found little benefits to actual performance but that music appears to provide a motivational construct to exercise, positively affecting the mental attitude of participants. In other words-music may actually allow listeners to create pleasant associations, whilst covering up negative stimuli (e.g. rapid/deep breathing).

Music may also act as a distraction from negative feelings such as discomfort or pain that may be associated with prolonged exercise and thus people that listen to music may find their perceived thresholds for performing raised.

In summary listening to music is probably not going to make huge differences to your results but may just make the experience more pleasant. Disclaimer- never cycle on the public highways listening to music- you may find your performance is significantly reduced by the big bus behind you.

  One Response to “Dr Al investigates the effect of music on cycling performance”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Foot Down, Going Going Bike. Going Going Bike said: how does music effect your cycling performance? Dr Al gives the medical view http://bit.ly/advHfV #cycling #music [...]

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