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And the award goes to…

Monday, April 06, 2009 Posted by Peter Janiszewski, PhD

This past weekend I had the pleasure of being a judge at the Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington Science Fair science fair in Kingston. Along with my fellow judge, Marina Komolova, I was responsible for handing out the Canadian Obesity Network award to the best project focusing on diet, exercise or obesity issues. The prize included a $100 cheque as well as a year’s subscription to the Canadian Obesity Network’s quarterly publication, CONDUIT.

After screening through 11 relevant projects and some fierce deliberation, the Canadian Obesity Network award was given to Tim Ostiguy and Yeon-Soo Kim from Module Vanier School for their project entitled “Rhythm Running”.

As the title suggests, Ostiguy and Kim performed a number of experiments to look at the effect of music (especially its rhythm) on performance on an exercise task, specifically running.

Among their numerous findings, which you can read in detail on their project website, the young researchers found that more up-tempo music can help increase the pace and intensity of your run, without you noticing. For this test, each subject would first run for 10mins while wearing a pedometer but no music. The distance covered and the number of steps per minute were calculated for this trial. Following this, the researchers would find a song with beats per minute which exceed the runner’s regular steps per minute by 5 beats. Then, on a separate day the same runner would complete another 10 min run, but now while wearing an iPod with the slightly up-tempo rhythm. The results show that the number of steps taken during the 10 min run increased from 160.1 to 164.1, and the distance covered increased from 2.05 to 2.09 km, when the runner was exposed to music with a tempo which was slightly faster than their regular running pace.

So if you’d like to slightly ramp up the intensity of your rhythmic exercise, why not listen to an up-tempo song while doing it. On the other hand, you’d probably be better off avoiding Celine Dion ballads when running as they may actually work to slow you down.

To read about the other experiments performed by Ostiguy and Kim as well as some background on the effects of music on sport performance please check out their website.

Thanks to the Canadian Obesity Network for providing the prize and allowing me to hopefully motivate and further inspire the great minds of tomorrow.


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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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