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Background: While previous studies indicate an auditory metronome can entrain cadence (in steps per minute), music may also evoke prescribed cadences and metabolic intensities. Purpose: To determine how modulating the tempo of a single commercial song influences adults’ ability to entrain foot strikes while walking and how this entrainment affects metabolic intensity. Methods: Twenty healthy adults (10 men and 10 women; mean [SD]: age 23.7 [2.7] y, height 172.8 [9.0] cm, mass 71.5 [16.2] kg) walked overground on a large circular pathway for six 5-min conditions; 3 self-selected speeds (slow, normal, and fast); and 3 trials listening to a song with its tempo modulated to 80, 100, and 125 beats per minute. During music trials, participants were instructed to synchronize their step timing with the music tempo. Cadence was measured via direct observation, and metabolic intensity (metabolic equivalents) was assessed using indirect calorimetry. Results: Participants entrained their cadences to the music tempos (mean absolute percentage error = 5.3% [5.8%]). Entraining to a music tempo of 100 beats per minute yielded ≥3 metabolic equivalents in 90% of participants. Trials with music entrainment exhibited greater metabolic intensity compared with self-paced trials (repeated-measures analysis of variance, F1,19 = 8.05, P = .01). Conclusion: This study demonstrates the potential for using music to evoke predictable metabolic intensities.
Perry, Moore, Sands, Aguiar, Gould, and Ducharme are with the Physical Activity & Health Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA. Tudor-Locke is with the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.