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Music Use in Exercise: A Questionnaire Study


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Although there is much research looking at music’s effects on sport and exercise performance, little is known about exercisers’ own application of music during workouts. An online questionnaire exploring its relationship with gender, formal music training, personality and 5K performance was completed by 282 regularly exercising participants (159 women, 116 men, 6 undisclosed, Mage =37.68, SD = 10.16). Women were more likely to use music during exercise than men (p = .011), and to synchronize to the beat (p = .002), and women’s preferences were spread over a range of pop, rock, and dance music, whereas men’s were focused on rock-related styles. Being open to new experiences was associated with preferring rock, metal, and indie music (p = .042) and those who intentionally synchronised their movements were more open to new experiences than non-synchronizers (p = .003), although a minority of participants synchronised intentionally. Most gym users listened to their own music in the gym rather than music played by the facility. These findings provide new insights into exercise music use, challenging assumptions that formal music training affects how music is applied in exercise, and that synchronization to the beat is the “norm” for exercisers listening to music.

Acceptance Date Oct 10, 2016
Publication Date Nov 11, 2016
Journal Media Psychology
Print ISSN 1521-3269
Publisher Routledge
Pages 658-684
Keywords music and media, quantitative, sports and media, music and exercise
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