Dr. Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University’s School of Sport and Education today revealed a study stating that carefully selected music can significantly increase a person’s physical endurance and make the experience of cardiovascular exercise far more positive.

The study in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology is the latest from a 20-year program of work into the motivational qualities of music in sport and exercise. The findings illustrate the considerable benefits associated with exercising in time to music: something that some elite athletes, such as marathon world record holder Haile Gebrselassie, have been doing for years.

The scientific principles that guided this piece of research are about to be put into action through an ambitious sporting event due to take place on October 5th in Greenwich, London. The Sony Ericsson Run To The Beat half-marathon will be the first to provide scientifically-selected live musical accompaniment along the entire length of the course. Dr. Karageorghis has selected and coordinated the music that will be played at 17 live music stations to accompany 12,500 runners.

That's right, a scientist is finally the DJ. Society has come full circle.

Back to the research. In the study, thirty participants exercised on a treadmill while listening to a selection of motivational rock or pop music, including tracks by Queen, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Madonna. They were asked to keep in strict time with the beat. The findings show that when carefully selected according to scientific principles, music can enhance endurance by 15% and improve the ‘feeling states’ of exercisers, helping them to derive much greater pleasure from the task.

One significant new finding is that music can help exercisers to feel more positive even when they are working out at a very high intensity – close to physical exhaustion.

Dr. Karageorghis’s latest research findings are particularly noteworthy for public health practitioners, given that treadmill-based exercise such as walking and running is often incorporated into the rehabilitation programmes of those in a primary care settings (e.g. cardiac patients and those suffering from obesity). Music has the power to make a considerable impact in the fight against public inactivity. Moreover, the effects of music on mood and emotions open up the possibility that it can be used to improve compliance to exercise and therefore help people achieve their long-term health and fitness goals.

Dr Karageorghis, who is a reader in sport psychology at Brunel University, explains, “The synchronous application of music resulted in much higher endurance while the motivational qualities of the music impacted significantly on the interpretation of fatigue symptoms right up to the point of voluntary exhaustion”.

More info on the Sony Ericsson Run To The Beat half marathon:

Location: The O2, Greenwich
Date: Sunday 5th October
Time: Competitors arrive from 07.30; Music starts 09.20; Race starts 09.45

Sony Ericsson Run To The Beat is London’s first official half-marathon and will take place on Sunday 5th October 2008 in Greenwich. The event will be starting and finishing at The O2, with over 30 bands strategically positioned along the course performing at 17 live music stations to create an inspirational atmosphere for competitors that will lift their performance to new levels.

The opening act will be Imperial Leisure, a ten-piece band playing their own blend of ska, rap and rock music, complete with live brass section, punching rhythm section and fronted by two MCs and a singer. Their music has received rave reviews from Radio 1, XFM, Kerrang and Clash. Some of London’s most exciting new talent, which has been selected by event partner City Showcase, the capital’s leading festival for new music, will deliver music on the day.

The inaugural Sony Ericsson Run To The Beat will host 12,500 entrants including international elite athletes, celebrities and thousands of both new and experienced runners. Celebrity competitors include Priya Kaur-Jones (GMTV newsreader) and Lara Lewington (Ch 5 weather presenter).

Visit www.runtothebeat.co.uk for further details.