Sports Doctor Shares His Musical Playlist To Enhance Athletic Performance

Source: Crave | All Things Michael


Dr. Costas Karageorghis is a reader in sport psychology and has served as a head-honcho of the ‘former School of Sport and Education’ at Brunel University London. He’s smart. Really smart. And he’s even led breakthroughs in providing proof that there are psychological, psychophysical and ergogenic effects from music.

But those are his words … I told you he was smart.

It’s not necessarily ground breaking that music helps pump us up. But Dr. Karageorghis spoke with me about the details of his findings —  Through real scientific research, the doctor says he’s proven that music can lower perceived exertion during workouts by as much as 12 percent.

“It simply amazes me how the brain lights up like a Christmas tree when you expose someone to a piece of music. And specifically to a stimulative piece of music,” said Karageorghis.

So what kind of music will maximize your potential?

It all has to do with three things: Rhythm, Beats Per Minute (BPM),  and, believe it or not, the lyrics.

Dr. Karageorghis wrote this in a previous piece for the Huffington Post:

“Certain qualities of music can render a particular track appropriate for the sport and exercise domain. For example, the strong rhythmical qualities of a track such as “I Like To Move It” by Reel 2 Real can help listeners to optimize their activation levels during a workout. The lyrical content of a track also has a strong bearing on its motivational qualities. Many of my favorite tracks contain powerful affirmations: For example, “Beat It” by Michael Jackson repeats that no one wants to be defeated, which I find to be quite an uplifting motif.”

Also, it’s more beneficial if you can synchronize the music to your pace.

“We’ve done many studies looking at mechanisms that underlie the effects of music. For example, when we apply synchronous music … we noticed there were measurable benefits in terms of exercise efficiency. We measured this by tracking an individuals oxygen-uptake while they’re exercising, running or cycling” …

“When you sync your movements to a musical beat, you get a six to seven percent reduction in oxygen uptake. Which means in essence that you’re more energy efficient,” said Karageorghis.

But finding your own playlist is key

“It’s a very individual thing – music. The choices are incredibly personal, even when the events are very motoric or cognitive,” said the doctor.

“While running, it’s the rhythmic qualities that will have the most influence … If you apply it synchronously, with your stride rate … It’s the working heart rate that determines the optimal music tempo … There seems to be a sweet spot between 125-140 BPM that works across of broad range of rhythmic intensities,” he said.

What’s new?

Karageorghis has been at the forefront of music + exercise research for years. But just recently he says he’s also discovered that music can even accelerate rehabilitation.

“It can also speed up the recovery processes immediately after training, particularly if it’s of a slow, seductive tempo with simple harmonies and there’s a warm instrumentation,” said Karageorghis.

So which songs are his favorites?

It totally depends on the BPM that matches your heart-rate, so the type of exercise you’re doing is paramount. However, there are a few songs that appear to be mentioned time and time again…

Doctor’s orders

Dr. Costas Karageorghis’ favs:

“Eye Of The Tiger” (109 BPM), Surivior

“Don’t Stop Me Now” (154 BPM), Queen

“Beat It” (139 BPM), Michael Jackson

“I Like To Move It” (123 BPM), Reel 2 Real feat. The Mad Stuntman

“Push It” (130 BPM), Salt-N-Pepa

He also included this playlist from 2013. As you can see, it’s mostly up-tempo stuff, with a lot of Michael Jackson.


Try something else cool? Here’s a site that allows you to type in any song and get the BPM.

Here are some more MJ workouts to try:

Read more here

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