Music to my ears....and steps to my cadence

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This piece is a little different. More of an essay or narrative. We hope you enjoy it...

It was 12° when I woke up. It was mid October and fall is in full swing with the leaves still turning and left on many trees. I looked at the thermometer and it read 12°. When I looked outside I could see that 2 to 3 inches of fresh snow had fallen. Electing not to ride my bike because of the slipperiness of the snow on the roads, I donned my Altra’s and headed out for a run. I grabbed my iPod on my way out the door and queued up Nickelback's "All the Right Reasons".

It's amazing how much music can influence your work out. "Follow You Home" came on came on just as I approached the first hill. The song has a relatively strong beat which made me work harder to get up. This made me think of how much cadence can be influenced by music (1-3) and a few pieces we wrote on music therapy. 

Faster cadences have been associated with shorter step length and decreased vertical impact loading rates, in other words less force and theoretically at least, less injuries (4,5) . 

The snow was soft and forgiving beneath my feet and despite wearing tights and two layers on top, I was quite comfortable. “ Fight for All the right reasons" came on as I started my first set of lunges. I could feel my pace again matching the music.

I was making "first tracks of the season" in the snow. That brought a smile to my face. It was quiet and peaceful (except for my music through the headphones of course) and it was feeling like the beginning of a great run. I begin my ascent of the second large hail and “Photograph” came on which made me think about all things high school and brought a smile to my face. I wondered about some of the people I dated as well as a few that I probably should have dated and those that I definitely should not have dated :-)

My run continued, quite well I might add, with some quick intervals of lunges and squats throughout. “Next Contestant” finished up by brief workout as I came down the home stretch. Another smile came to my face as I know what my next blog piece would be about : )

If you just want the bullet, then here it is: “The applicable contribution of these novel findings is that music tempo could serve as an unprompted means to impact running cadence. As increases in step rate may prove beneficial in the prevention and treatment of common running-related injuries, this finding could be especially relevant for treatment purposes, such as exercise prescription and gait retraining.

  • Music tempo can spontaneously impact running cadence.
  • A basin for unsolicited entrainment of running cadence to music tempo was discovered.
  • The effect of music tempo on running cadence proves to be stronger for women than for men.”



1. Van Dyck E, Moens B, Buhmann J, et al. Spontaneous Entrainment of Running Cadence to Music Tempo. Sports Medicine - Open. 2015;1:15. doi:10.1186/s40798-015-0025-9. link to full text:

2. Lima-Silva AE, Silva-Cavalcante MD, Pires FO, Bertuzzi R, Oliveira RS, Bishop D.  Listening to music in the first, but not the last, 1.5 km of a 5-km running trial alters pacing strategy and improves performance. Int J Sports Med. 2012 Oct;33(10):813-8. Epub 2012 May 16.

3. Bacon CJ, Myers TR, Karageorghis CI. Effect of music-movement synchrony on exercise oxygen consumption. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2012 Aug;52(4):359-65.

4. Baggaley M, Willy RW, Meardon S. Primary and secondary effects of real-time feedback to reduce vertical loading rate during running Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2016 Mar 19. doi: 10.1111/sms.12670. [Epub ahead of print].

5. Lyght M, Nockerts M, Kernozek TW, Ragan R. Effects of Foot Strike and Step Frequency on Achilles Tendon Stress During Running. J Appl Biomech. 2016 Aug;32(4):365-72. doi: 10.1123/jab.2015-0183. Epub 2016 Mar 8.