Music has No Effect on the Performance of Well-Trained Cyclists, Study Finds
Music has no effect on the performance of well-trained cyclists, a study by Mr Barry Dyer - who graduated with a Master’s degree in Sport Science – has revealed.
‘The effects of music tempo on performance, psychological and physiological variables during 20km cycling in well-trained cyclists was conducted at UKZN’s Human Performance Laboratory at the Discipline of Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure,’ said Dyer.
‘It involved 10 well-trained cyclists who were tested repeatedly while listening to music with a different beat on each occasion. The aim of the research was to investigate how music played at different speeds, affects well-trained cyclists during exercise.’
Music is commonly used during exercise and has been viewed as a type of legal performance-enhancer due to the fact that it may improve mood, increase work output and reduce people’s sensations of effort while they are exercising.
‘Most of the research supporting the use of music has been conducted using untrained people or recreational exercisers so we wanted to investigate whether music could improve mood and enhance performance in top-level cyclists as well,’ said Dyer. ‘What we found is that music didn’t have a significant impact on exercise performance in these cyclists regardless of the speed at which the music was played. When we played music with a higher tempo however, it did tend to have an adverse effect on their mood implying that the music acted as a distraction rather than a motivator.’
He said using music during exercise might not always be beneficial and it should be selected carefully according to the tempo of the music, the type of athlete and the type of exercise.
‘It doesn’t seem to benefit performance in top-level athletes who are capable of performing at their best without the need for external motivation,’ he added.
Dyer said he had the support of a great supervisor in Professor Andrew McKune and gained a lot of valuable experience in conducting research. ‘Through Professor McKune’s help I have also been able to meet and interact with some international researchers and present my work internationally at the International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport - ICSEMIS 2012 - in Scotland.’
He has also presented locally at the College of Health Science Symposium and BASA Life through Movement Conference in Potchefstroom last year.
McKune said Dyer had been a pleasure to supervise: ‘He was a disciplined and highly motivated student who has tremendous potential to develop into a successful academic.’
His research findings suggest that fast tempo music is not as beneficial for performance in well-trained individuals as previously thought. ‘His research questions the use of certain types of music to improve performance. The findings are novel and have been published in the Journal of Perceptual and Motor Skills,’ he added.
Dyer is currently lecturing on a part-time basis in the Discipline of Biokinetics, Exercise and Leisure Sciences at UKZN and exploring possible avenues for PhD study.
He is also trying to increase the amount of sport science testing that takes place in UKZN’s Human Performance Laboratory.
The Cape Town-born Dyer has always been involved with sport. He is a part-time cricket player and coach and also has an interest in soccer and rugby.
Dyer, who was at Pinetown Boys’ High, has a sister and three younger brothers. He said his family was very proud of his achievements and he was grateful for their support.
- Nombuso Dlamini