Upbeat music boosts workout: doctor

WORKOUT WALTZ::A physiatrist urged sedentary people to clear their ‘oxygen debt’ by exercising to up-tempo music, as rhythm boosts motivation and focus in a workout

By Chiu Yi-chun and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Tue, Jul 09, 2013 - Page 5

People leading a sedentary lifestyle are advised to exercise regularly while listening to up-tempo music to prevent racking up a large “oxygen debt” that causes muscle pain and stiffness, rehabilitation physician Chen Yi-ching (陳易進) said.

“A sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise can lead to low oxygen levels in the body, which results in oxygen deficiency in cells that in turn causes lactic acid to accumulate in the muscles,” Chen said.

The lactic acid causes the body to build up an oxygen debt, which is normally paid back during sleep, Chen said.

However, in cases where the oxygen debt is too large to correct through sleep, it gradually results in stiffness and pain in the shoulder and back muscles. t can also cause myofascial pain syndrome, a chronic disorder that subjects the sufferer to steady, deep muscular pain.

Chen said office workers constantly make excuses for not exercising, such as not having enough time or being too tired, but as exercise can help remove lactic acid from the muscles, it can dissipate fatigue.

Chen said studies have shown that upbeat rhythms provided by music can help improve coordination and increase muscular oxygen utilization rates.

“Up-tempo music has been proven to help people prolong the length of their workout. People tend to exercise for even longer if the workout music they choose speeds up progressively,” Chen said, adding that regardless of its tempo, music aids physical endurance and concentration during exercise.

Chen said songs with 120 beats per minute (bpm) are the best for warm-up and cool-down exercises, listing Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, Jam Hsiao’s (蕭敬騰) Princess (王妃) and A-mei’s (張惠妹) Come If You Dare (好膽你就來) as examples.

During a workout, younger people can opt for songs with 140bpm, such as pop rock band Mayday’s (五月天) Jump! The World (離開地球表面) or Jay Chou’s (周杰倫) Sailor Afraid of Water (水手怕水), Chen said.

“Those wanting a more intense workout can play songs in the 160bpm range, including the English rock group Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now, Da Mouth’s (大嘴巴) Rude (沒禮貌) and A-Lin’s Lin Limit (Lin 極限),” Chen said.

“However, older people are advised not to exercise to songs faster than 120bpm,” Chen added.

Chen said people who only exercise on weekends should not try to do the amount of exercise recommended per week in one day, because this is likely to cause muscle or joint injuries.

“Instead, people should spread the recommended amount of exercise over three to five days, which amounts to 20 to 30 minutes of physical activity a day, with 10 minutes of warm-up and 10 minutes of cool-down exercises for each workout session,” Chen said.