Whitehead, J. R., Kleven, K. R., Brinkert, R. H., & Short, S. M. (2008). The effects of music and music-video distractions on exercise enjoyment, perceived exertion, and work output. ACSM 55th Annual Meeting Indianapolis, Presentation Number 2049.

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This study evaluated the effects of music, and music plus video on ratings of perceived exertion, exercise enjoyment, and exercise work output. To avoid the potential distraction-from-the-distractor confound, ratings of perceived exertion and enjoyment were made only after the exercise was concluded. Ss (N = 20) were tested to establish a comfortable work load and seat height for a bicycle ergometer. Ss were then asked to complete "about 20 minutes" in each of the three conditions (Video vs. Music vs. Control in random order) in separate sessions. After each session, questionnaires assessing exercise exertion (Borg Scale) and enjoyment (adapted PACES) were completed. Exercise time and work completed was recorded for each participant. Deception was used so that the Ss were unaware that they were being timed or having their work measured.

The Video condition produced lower ratings of perceived exertion than the Control condition. All groups were significantly different from one another for enjoyment (Control lowest; Music next; Video highest). Exercise time was significantly longer in the Video condition than in the Control. There were no significant differences in work rate, but due to the exercise time differences there was a significant effect for work done with the Video condition higher than the Control.

Implication. Music and music plus video had several positive effects on decreasing ratings of perceived exertion, increasing enjoyment, and increasing work done. [Since the RPE differences were small, further study is needed to ascertain whether being asked to rate exertion during exercise substantively confounds results by distracting participants from the desired positive distractions of music and video.]

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