Archive for the tag - rowing

Music Increases Exercise Output by 15%.

Ancient roman rowers - the ancestors of this more modern specimen - were among the first to use the benefits of synchronization.

Believe it or not, music and exercise didn’t first combine forces with the advent of the iPod. In fact, you’d have to go all the way back to rowers during Roman times. According to Carl Foster, Ph.D., lead researcher for a recent compilation of studies titled Exploring the Effects of Music on Exercise Intensity:

The guy is sitting there beating on his drum and he drives the basic rhythm of the rowing. Part of that is coordination—you want the rowers to row together—but part of it is that people will naturally follow a tempo. It’s just something about the way our brains work.

The principle of synching yourself to the beat of music is called entrainment or synchronization. You match your steps, strides or cycles to the dominant beat in a song or soundtrack. But does this help exercisers up their intensity? According to Foster and the various studies his team reviewed, yes!

Some even go so far as to call music a legal, performance-enhancing drug. Why? In a nutshell, music is said to have three benefits:

  1. The aforementioned entrainment or synchronization.
  2. Increase in arousal – music makes you want to move.
  3. Distracts exerciser from discomfort or fatigue.

In addition, I believe that music makes exercise more enjoyable and fun – and helps get exercisers to the gym. One of the biggest complaints I hear is that exercise is boring. Music helps make things more interesting.

Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., of London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education, is one of the world’s leading authorities on music and exercise. According to Karageorghis’ 20+ years of research:

[Music] can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent.

A 15% increase in output is HUGE. And for anyone looking to up the intensity of their workout, that’s great news. Of course, not all soundtracks are created equal; elevator music, for example, might not get your heart pumping. Researchers recommend the following bpm (beats-per-minute) guidelines for selecting playlists:

  1. Power walking: approx. 137–139 bpm
  2. Running: approx. 147–169 bpm
  3. Cycling: approx. 135–170 bpm

Not sure how to calculate bpm? There’s an app for that!

Do you use music to help step up your workout intensity? Let me know in the comments below!

When Good Knees Go Bad: 3 Effective Low-Impact Cardio Exercises.

No face? No problem.

Hi Davey,My knees can not handle high impact cardiovascular exercise like running, jogging or even stair climbing. I know that cardio is important, but what can you recommend that is low-impact and yet effective?


Dear Chris,

Great question! Having nursed a knee injury just last summer, I can relate. And you’re absolutely correct: Cardio is important for everyone.

Here are three effective low-impact exercises that I’d recommend:

  1. Swimming. Swimming is phenomenal for all people, but especially beneficial for those individuals seeking a low (or no) impact exercise. Whereas running a treadmill will pound your knees, swimming involves much smoother movements. You weigh 1/10th of your land weight in water, so a great deal of stress is taken off of your joints. A 155lb person could expect to burn 214 calories after 30 minutes of moderate swimming.
  2. Rowing. I’m a huge fan of rowing – and it is very gentle on the knees. Much like swimming, the movement is fluid and not abrupt. I enjoy rowing sprints – 90 seconds of all out rowing followed by 45 seconds of rest for 15 minutes. If you’d rather keep things easier, try going at a moderate pace for 90 seconds and then a slower pace for 60 seconds. a 155lb person would burn 246 calories after 30 minutes of moderate rowing.
  3. Elliptical. If you don’t have access to a pool or a rowing machine, the elliptical is a good alternative. Because of the machine’s structure, the movement is low impact and fluid – and a 155lb person can burn 400 calories after 30 minutes of exercise.

You can also give cycling, walking, in-line skating and cross-country skiing a try. Whatever your interests, you should be able to find a low-impact cardio program that suits your needs.

Any other suggestions or questions? Ask away in the comments below!