Does Listening to Music Affect Ones Heart Rate?

What’s the worst thing to forget to bring to the gym, library or airplane? Without a doubt, I would answer headphones every time. Not much is worse than not having that extra pump up in the gym, soothing, stress relief in the library and calming sounds on a crowded airplane. But why is that? Is it possible that a certain genre of music we listen to could have an affect on our heart rate at that moment in time? Accolistening_to_music_by_gozdeording to many, the answer is yes.

The Europe PubMed Central did a study that tested the types and intensities of music when someone ran on a treadmill. They played two different music types. Type A was loud, fast and popular music while Type B was compiled of soft, slow, easy listening music. The study showed that the heart rate was lower when listening to Type B music but the time to exhaustion was longer when listening to Type B music. They concluded the study, saying that music similar to Type B will reduce physiological and psychological arousal and increase endurance performance.

LiveStrong also did a study on whether listening too music, and specific kinds, affects a persons’ heart rate. Interestingly enough, during the study, they found that people who listen to music for 20 to 30 minutes a day have a slowed heart rate compared to those who don’t. But even more so, the affect on heart rate is greater when dealing with people who have musical backgrounds. This could have great influence on the amount that a person’s heart rate is altered. In short, someone who has prior experience with timing their breathing to music, for playing purposes, is more likely to have their heart rate altered when listing to music for personal pleasure. The article discussed how their bodies unconsciously adjust to match the beat, whereas a person with a non-musical background has not been trained in that way. The article then went on to discuss the affect music has on athletes. Those who ran around a track with music had a decrease in lap pace and those who listened while just working out did have an increased heart rate but it still wasn’t as great as those who chose to workout with no music. But yet again, the rate at which they grew exhausted was lower than those who didn’t listen to music. They concluded by highlighting the fact that music can indeed improve an athletic performance, but it all varies on a persons’ musical preference. Music that may increase one persons’ heart rate may not increase another.

A study found in  “Heart”magazine did a pretty impressive job of proving the point that music can affect a heart rate. They began by saying that listening to fast, upbeat music accelerates heart rate, while listening to slow, meditative music had a relaxing effect and slowed the heart rate. Surgeon Dr. Claudius Conrad, from Harvard Medical School, would play an hour session of a Mozart piano piece for patients who were off sedation. After measuring their stress levels and heart rates before and after the music played, it was evident that the music had significantly reduced both stress and heart rate.

To conclude, music can definitely affect one’s heart rate, but the musical genre is an important factor. One type of music may affect someone’s heart rate drastically, while another may have no affect. But through much more research, maybe one-day music could be used to replace some medications. Only time will tell!

4 thoughts on “Does Listening to Music Affect Ones Heart Rate?

  1. Erin Ann Alessandroni

    Analeigh, this was such an interesting post! The information you presented above leads me to realize a scientific question I frequently ponder in every day life; Is listening to music while doing school work helpful or hurtful? In my opinion, it must have to do with the type of music one is subjecting themselves to. When I go to the gym, I listen to fast paced, hyped up music that I believe truly positively impacts my physical abilities while there. If I turned on Jack Johnson Pandora while running around the track, however, I do not believe I would make it much more then a mile before wanting to curl up in bed. The reverse is the same- I do not believe that I could achieve good grades while simultaneously listening to EDM all day. Is this scientifically proven or just an opinion? Many researchers agree with my hypothesis. Research published in “Learning and Individual Differences” and described on the University of Southern California website reports that 
”students who listened to a one-hour lecture where classical music was played in the background 
scored significantly higher in a quiz on the lecture when compared to a similar group of students who 
heard the lecture with no music.” This shows that there is a correlation between calming music and concentration.

  2. Jessica M Lee

    This is a really interesting post! I have noticed my heart rate has changed to match the beat of a song, especially with a heavy bass. I didn’t realize that faster music would tire me out sooner but I find that if I listen to slower paced music, I’m not as motivated to work out. Additionally, working out without any misc bores me to the point that I have to stop. Here’s an article I found about the effects of music on a person.

  3. Leah Emily Tancer

    This is a really interesting concept! I am a runner and recently, I started listening to slower music while a run. I was completely unaware of the physiological effects, but found that while listening to softer music, I was able to run for longer distances. As you said that faster music increases heart rate, I think that it tires people out more, thus reducing their endurance.

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