A couple studies have shown that inspirational music can help you maintain intensity during a demanding cardio day. Now a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests that a catchy beat can positively influence short-term recovery – even without the music.
Ten recreationally active men in their mid- to late 20s ran all-out for 6 minutes on 3 separate occasions. During the first session, they recovered for 15 minutes with no soundtrack. The next time, motivational music was played, and after the final run only the beat from that same motivational music was played. Music and the beat increased activity during active recovery which lowered lactate levels as well as the perceived rate of exertion.
True Strength Moment: Although music worked slightly better than just a beat, both produced better results than non-structured active recovery. This might have something to do with the way most people unconsciously alter their pace to keep time with a tune. It appears that keeping your feet moving after an intense cardio workout improves both actual and perceived rates of recovery.