​​​​​​​​​​​​Photo of Dr. David Alter​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
Dr. David Alter, the lead author of the study, says the tempo of music that a person listens to while walking or running has an impact on their exercise adherence. (Photo: UHN) ​

A Toronto Rehab scientist has discovered an upbeat and personalized method to improve adherence to cardiac rehab.

A recent study, published in Sports Medicine –Open, found that providing cardiac patients with personalized music playlists where the tempos were adjusted to match their pre-determined walking or running pace increases adherence to cardiac rehab by almost 70 per cent. Cardiac rehab improves long-term survival for patients with previous heart events by 20 per cent.

"The music tempo-pace synchronization helps cue the person to take their next step or stride and helps regulate, maintain and reinforce their prescribed exercise pace," said Dr. David Alter, Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehab, University Health Network and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

In Dr. Alter's study, the control group received no music, while the rema​​ining subjects received one of two forms of tempo-pace synchronization in their personalized playlists. Those who received music with additional rhythmic sonic enhancements, named Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS) to their audio-playlists achieved a 70 per cent increase in their adherence to prescribed weekly exercise as compared with the other two groups.

For more information, read "New music strategy shows 70 per cent increase in exercise adherence"​.

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