Beethoven best for fitness workouts

21 January 2013, 10:32 | Updated: 21 January 2013, 10:52

Studies show classical music readies the brain for exercise and helps maintain focus during a workout session.

Listening to your favourite classical music while exercising could have a positive impact on your workout. Neuroscientist Dr Jack Lewis has found that classical music lowered heart rates, blood pressure, and perceptions of exertion in moderate intensity running tests.

Despite Beethoven's music often sounding stormy or dramatic, Dr Lewis recommends the finale of his Symphony No. 4 for anyone hitting the treadmill this January. In fact, classical music was found to lower the body's levels of of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress.

"Energetic but not overly fast classical music can be ideal in the gym," he said. "Not only does upbeat music increase speed, strength and endurance, but the relaxing qualities of classical appears to reduce heart rate, blood pressure and lower perceived exertion."

Increasing the beats per minute (bpm) as heart rate climbs could also be beneficial. The finale of Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 is 140bpm, but playlist recommendations include Tinie Tempah's Pass Out (181 bpm) and Rizzle Kicks' Mama Do The Hump (198 bpm) for those enjoying a more strenuous workout.

Here at Classic FM, we've always enjoyed listening to the world's greatest music as we work up a sweat in the gym. Have a look at our very own exercise playlist here.