Effects of synchronous, auditory stimuli on running performance and heart rate
Research has demonstrated that the human being tends to couple body movements and external, acoustic stimuli (metronome or music). This effect is called auditory-motor synchronization. Motivational music possesses qualities which distract from feelings like fatigue and exertion. Combining these two effects may enhance the sports performance even more. Investigations showed that runners can increase their original cadence up to 2%. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of accelerated, synchronized stimuli on the running performance. Therefore, 28 students (15 ♀, 13 ♂) of the Institute of Sports Science in Innsbruck were asked to do two cooper tests each. After run 1 (no auditory signal), the sample was divided into two groups. In run 2, which took place on a different day, one group listened to music while running; the other group was stimulated by the sound of a metronome. Distance (m) and average heartrate were measured. 75% of the athletes achieved a greater distance under the influence of an acoustic stimulus. In fact, the running distance changed significantly using an acoustic stimulus: +61 m (SD ± 100) or 2.1% (SD ± 3.6). In group 1 (music), the performance improved up to + 3.8% (SD ± 3.3). This difference was significant compared to group 2 (metronome). The average heart rate decreased by 1.5 beats (SD ± 5) from run 1 to run 2. Influenced by music, the average heart rate measured 179 beats (SD ± 8) in contrast to 182 beats (SD ± 10) in run 1 (no acoustic stimulus). If the tempo of the acoustic stimulus is adapted to the accelerated cadence of an athlete (maximum 2%), improved distances due to the synchronization effect can be achieved. In combination with the motivating qualities of music, improved effects in sport performances could be produced.
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