Music Playlist Tempo and Self-Paced Running, Mood, and Attentional Focus


Bly, K., Sforzo, G., King, D. Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY

Purpose: To examine the effects of music playlist tempo on exercise performance, mood, and attentional focus tendencies. Methods: A repeated measures design with three tempo conditions administered in a partially randomized, balanced fashion was used in which 36 participants (M = 32.3, SD = 11.4) participated in three 4800 m running conditions (Varying, Constant, No music) on three separate days, with at least 48 hours between them. On testing days the participants were asked to fill out the Subjective Exercise Experience Scale (SEES) and were given the selected tempo playlist. They were instructed to “enjoy their run” and allowed to run at a self-selected pace for 4800 m. During the run, split times, HR, and RPE were gathered for each 400 m increment with total run time, average HR, and average RPE also being calculated. The participants were also asked to fill out the SEES and the Attentional Focus Questionnaire (AFQ) at the end of the run. Results: A one-way repeated measures ANOVA showed ending RPE for the constant tempo had a non-significant trend of being lower and no music conditions (p = .06). A paired t-test showed a significant increase in HR (t(35) = 9.64, p < .01) in the fast tempo as compared to slow tempo selections of the varying tempo condition. Conclusions: The current study demonstrated that music playlist tempo does not affect exercise performance, mood, nor attentional focus tendencies. Therefore, it appears playlist tempo is not a critical factor in selecting music for exercise, but instead one may listen to enjoyable music of diverse tempos with no apparent negative impact on exercise performance.

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