Eminem can help you run a lot more than “8 Miles” (sorry, we had to) as a new study reveals listening to the rapper’s hits can boost athletic performance by up to 10 per cent.
A research team from Hartpury University Centre in the UK spent three months monitoring the physiological effects of different music genres on British swimmer Ben Hooper ahead of his 3,200-kilometre swim across the Atlantic in December.
Eminem tracks including Lose Yourself and Without Me were shown to significantly increase both power and endurance during periods of prolonged and intense exercise.
The researchers worked to develop a “soundtrack to success” by monitoring Hooper’s output over nearly 25,000 lengths of an indoor swimming pool while he listened to different styles of music.
Eminem’s tracks were found to have a “highly motivational edge”, improving Hooper’s perceived levels of effort. Fatigue also improved.
He also recorded an improvement in his speed of nearly 10 per cent above average while listening to certain songs.
Music from The Script and Swedish House Mafia also proved to be beneficial.
On the flip side, songs by Bob Marley and other reggae artists brought no noticeable improvement in speed and required more effort from Hooper during laps.
Lead researcher Richard Collins, a sports psychologist and a senior lecturer at Hartpury, said lyrics with an emotional resonance were more important to Hooper than both tempo and rhythm combined.
This explains why Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and what Collins calls other “cheesy” songs had no major impact.
Lil’ Wayne inspired Phelps’ gold medals.
University of Southern Queensland Professor Peter Terry wrote for The Conversation last year on the subject of music and its benefits for exercise.
“[After] Michael Phelps swam to an all-time record of eight Olympic gold medals in 2008, one of his first tasks when arriving home was to personally thank rap artist Lil’ Wayne for the inspiration he had provided in Beijing,” he said.