Effects of music during exercise on RPE, heart rate and the autonomic nervous system

S. Yamashita*, K. Iwai, T. Akimoto, J. Sugawara, I. Kono

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)


Aim. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the influence of music on RPE during sub-maximal exercise and on the autonomic nervous system before and after sub-maximal exercise. Methods. Heart rate (HR), HR variability (HRV) and rates of physical fatigue (RPE) during exercise at 60% and at 40% V̇O2max with and without music were measured. The exercise protocol consisted of a 30-min seated rest (control) period followed by a 30-min submaximal cycling exercise and a 35-min recovery period. Autonomic-nervous activity was measured before and after exercise. During exercise, RPE was recorded every 3 min and HR was recorded for every minute. Results. Although RPE did not differ during exercise at 60% V̇O 2max, this value was lower during exercise at 40% V̇O 2max in the presence, than in the absence of a favorite piece music (P<0.05). HR, HFA and LFA/HFA of HRV significantly differed with exercise intensity in the absence (P<0.05), but not in the presence of music. Conclusions. These findings suggested that music evokes a "distraction effect" during low intensity exercise, but might not influence the autonomic nervous system. Therefore, when jogging or walking at comparatively low exercise intensity, listening to a favorite piece of music might decrease the influence of stress caused by fatigue, thus increasing the "comfort" level of performing the exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425-430
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sept 1
Externally publishedYes


  • CDM analysis
  • Heart rate variability
  • Music

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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