On the role of lyrics in the music-exercise performance relationship

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Objectives:To examine the role of lyrics on a range of psychological, psychophysical, and physiological variables during submaximal cycling ergometry.Design:Within-subject counterbalanced design.Method:Twenty-five participants performed three 6-min cycling trials at a power output corresponding to 75% of their maximum heart rate under conditions of music with lyrics, same music without lyrics, and a no-music control. Cycling cadence, heart rate, and perceived exertion were recorded at 2-min intervals during each trial. Positive and negative affect was assessed before and after each trial.Results:Participants cycled at a higher cadence towards the end of the cycling trials under music with lyrics. Main effects were found for perceived exertion and heart rate, both of which increased from min 2 through to min 6, and for affect: positive affect increased and negative affect decreased from pre- to post-trials.Conclusions:Participants pedalled faster in both music conditions (with and without lyrics) while perceived exertion and heart rate did not differ. The inclusion of lyrics influenced cycling cadence only at min 6 and had no effect on the remaining dependent variables throughout the duration of the cycling trials. The impact of lyrical content in the music-exercise performance relationship warrants further attention in order for us to better understand its role.

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