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Your Soundtrack To Better Health

Your Soundtrack To Better Health

Around the time Alan Menken won an Oscar for the sound track to Beauty and The Beast (1991), you and millions of others found yourselves repeatedly humming the melody to “Belle.” And in 2009, Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance may have bounced around inside your brain for a while. These persistent tunes, which researches call earworms, drill their way into your mind because they’re simple, upbeat and catchy.

Well, while those earworms can be darn irksome, the power of music can put a smile on your face. Researchers from McMaster University have found that if you use music to power your workout during intense intervals, you’ll end up more likely to stick with it and enjoy it!

Interval training (whether it’s during a spin class or your daily walking routine) increases endurance and aerobic capacity—great for the heart and self-esteem—and it can help increase calorie burn and decrease your risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes and dementia. So, consider downloading your favorite, up-tempo music to power you through times of increased workout intensity.

We like listening to music during an interval routine on the treadmill: Start with a 2-minute warm-up at a pace that’s right for your fitness level—say an intensity of 4-5 on a scale of 1-10. Then increase your intensity each minute so you hit 6, 7, maybe higher. With music cranking, hold your most intense pace (walking or jogging) for 1 minute. Then cool down to your warm-up level. You’ll be singing a whole new tune about your health!

Medically reviewed in August 2018.

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