Although the temperatures may be brisk, before curling up on the sofa to watch the big game, or at least the half-time show and commercials, don’t forget to get your steps in with your daily walk or a session on the treadmill or elliptical. If you have been struggling to get past a fitness plateau, research suggests that your playlist may the ticket to ramp up exercise intensity and hit a calorie-burning, heart-pumping pace.
According to a recent Italian study, published in Frontiers in Psychology: Movement Science and Sport Psychology, an upbeat music tempo has a beneficial effect during periods of exercise, especially while participating in endurance activities. Music is an excellent tool to help motivate people to walk, run, swim or cycle for longer periods of time and with greater intensity. Music can help boost mood and reduce fatigue as well as distract the mind from discomfort, helping participants to dial up endurance and effort during exercise.
To maximize your daily exercise routine, look for a playlist that gradually increases in tempo and sustains that beat for 30 to 45 minutes before slowing down to cool off. A tempo of 120 to 130 beats per minute is a good pace for brisk walking – think You Should be Dancing (Bee Gees).
The United States Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults participate in at least 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity exercise such as brisk walking. Starting off at your current fitness level, gradually increase intensity and duration over time. Your favorite up-tempo music can help to motivate walking further and faster each day.
Other than a set of earbuds and some comfortable and supportive shoes, walking requires very little financial investment for equipment and no expensive membership fees. With regular exercise, older adults can help to prevent heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. Don’t be discouraged if, at first, you don’t manage a daily walk of 10,000 steps. The average American walks only 3,000 to 4,000 steps each day. Start where you are and gradually add about 1,000 steps each week.
Need some bops to get you motivated? Check out Spotify for walking playlists or create your own with just a few clicks.