Eminem can improve your athletic performance by 10%, research suggests

Lyrics in the rapper's songs have an 'emotional resonance' which can motivate athletes, scientists say

Olivia Blair
Friday 30 October 2015 14:00
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Tracks which produced positive results for the athlete included 'Lose yourself' and 'Not Afraid'
Tracks which produced positive results for the athlete included 'Lose yourself' and 'Not Afraid'

Listening to songs by Eminem could improve athletic performance by 10 per cent due to their emotional and meaningful lyrics, research suggests.

Researchers at Harbury College and University Centre found that tracks such as Lose Yourself, Not Afraid and Without Me “significantly” improved performance of one athlete undergoing intense training and exercise.

British swimmer, Ben Hooper was studied during his preparations to swim 2,000 miles across the Atlantic from Sengal, West Africa to Natal, Brazil in December.

They monitored his performance in a swimming pool in Cheltenham and the sea in Florida and were able to determine soundtracks which produced the best results, after trialling roughly 100 songs.

The successful tracks saw Mr Hooper’s speed improve by 10 per cent as well as fatigue and effort levels improve.

In addition to the 15-time Grammy-winning rapper’s music, other tracks which made it onto the ‘Soundtrack of Success’ included those by Swedish House Mafia and The Script.

However, some songs actually required more effort from Mr Hooper and made no difference to his speed.

Songs which fell under this category included those of the reggae genre, with three by Bob Marley having a negative effect. Others in the category were I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing by Aerosmith and Tear Drop by Massive Attack.

Lead researcher and sports psychologist, Richard Collins said it was songs which had lyrics containing an “emotional resonance” that produced the best results and this was more important than tempo and rhythm.

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He said: “Some suggest that rhythm is important, in that athletes should listen to music that is a little bit faster than their usual pace — helping them focus on their performance and avoid pain — while others suggest loud and fast music is more beneficial.”

“Our work, however, highlights the importance of emotional impact.”

“The music still needs to be at a brisk pace but we found that tracks with an emotional resonance can boost performance and endurance as much as 10 per cent.”

Explaining the significance of the Detroit native’s music, he said: “With Ben, listening to Eminem, for example, inspires confidence and determination as there is a general theme of triumphing against the odds while other songs made him think of his daughter and reminded him why he’s doing this historic challenge — to show that ordinary people can achieve the extraordinary.”

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