Ever wonder what professional athletes listen to to get pumped? Patriots fans were thrilled yesterday when running back Stevan Ridley posted his pre-Super Bowl playlist to Facebook.
The rap-heavy playlist features everyone from Jay-Z, Drake and Rick Ross to Lil Boosie and Tyga. Most of the tracks also feature a tempo that quickens as the song progresses and that can have a real effect on athletic performance and enjoyment.
In a 2009 lab experiment involving healthy male college students, researchers found that upping the tempo of a song made the participants both happier and more likely to work harder as they rode stationary bikes. Reported the New York Times:
When the tempo slowed, so did their pedaling and their entire affect. Their heart rates fell. Their mileage dropped. They reported that they didn't like the music much. On the other hand, when the tempo of the songs was upped 10 percent, the men covered more miles in the same period of time, produced more power with each pedal stroke and increased their pedal cadences. Their heart rates rose. They reported enjoying the music -- the same music -- about 36 percent more than when it was slowed.
Of particular note, the study participants didn't perceive their workouts as any easier when they listened to high-octane music, but they reported being more motivated to perform well. In other words, they knew they were working harder -- and they liked it.
We could all use a pick-me-up like that when it comes to revving up our exercise routines. And though Ridley won't be able to keep his earbuds in while he's playing, who knows? Maybe having those songs in mind will help him push through on Sunday.