Before every match, Serena Williams reportedly listens to Flashdance…What a Feeling by Irene Cara, a song that helps her to gather her strength and prepare her mind before the trials ahead. For workouts, she's a fan of Kelly Clarkson's Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) and P!nk's Just Give Me a Reason. Last year's US Open champion Naomi Osaka, meanwhile, claims that Eminem and Nicki Minaj were crucial to her success.
据说每次比赛前，塞雷娜·威廉姆斯都会听艾瑞尼·卡拉的《Flashdance…What a Feeling》，这首歌能帮助她凝心聚力，准备好面对即将来临的考验。在平时锻炼时，她喜欢听凯莉·克莱森的《Stronger(What Doesn't Kill You)》和P!nk的《Just Give Me a Reason》。与此同时，去年美国网球公开赛冠军大坂娜奥米表示，埃米纳姆和妮琪·米娜对她的成功都至关重要。
You don't need to be an elite athlete like Williams or Osaka to know that a good song can get you pumped up and motivated. Everybody has a song or playlist to help get them through a jog or workout. But can it ever do more than that? Can music boost your actual performance as well as your mood?
Psychologists and sports scientists have taken these questions very seriously – and their discoveries could help us all create the perfect power playlist for the summer.
Costas Karageorghis at Brunel University London has pioneered much of the research in this field. In his book Applying Music in Exercise and Sport, he identified many ways in which music can improve physical performance.
The most immediately obvious benefit is the intense emotional connection with certain songs. Listening to the Rocky movie soundtracks, for example, "can conjure positive imagery, a feeling that one can overcome adversity".
Then there's "dissociation" – music helps to direct your attention outwards rather than inwards, and drowns out the feelings of fatigue in our bodies. This can have a particularly powerful effect with more moderate workouts. When listening to music, people tend to underestimate their exertion by about 10%, meaning the whole workout ends up feeling much less arduous than it would have without the music. This should increase your overall endurance, helping you to run faster for longer.
When we listen to a track with a fast tempo, our heart's rhythm automatically increases by five to 15 beats per minute. It also triggers the release of adrenaline – typically involved fight or flight responses – that could prime the body for greater exertion.
For more rhythmic exercises, there can be some additional benefits – and this is perhaps best illustrated by the story of the legendary Ethiopian long-distance runner, Haile Gebrselassie.
His secret, apparently, was the song Scatman (Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Bop) – the tempo of which, he claimed, set the perfect running pace. Love or hate the song, it worked: he won two Olympic gold medals and broke numerous world records.
Karageorghis's experiments have shown that exercising in sync to a musical rhythm helps us produce more efficient movements, with less energy. The idea is that a network of your brain acts as a central "pacemaker" that sets the pace of the nerve signalling to your muscles. Listening to rhythmic music appears to boost the pacemaker's activity, leading to greater muscular coordination across the body, so we move further using less energy.
Even more powerfully, moving in sync to music can increase the release of endorphins, which should increase your pain threshold.
In 2012, Peter Terry at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, put 11 elite triathletes on the treadmill as they listened to various tracks. He found that their endurance – as measured by the time it took for them to reach exhaustion – increased by nearly 20% when running in sync with the rhythms of the track, compared with trials when they exercised in silence.'
With all these findings in mind, Karageorghis has some recommendations for the perfect gym playlist.
For weight training, he suggests looking for songs with a tempo of 110-145bpm (such as Queen's Another One Bites the Dust). If you are using heavier weights for slow repetitions (which increases tension and helps build muscle) you should synchronise your movements to every couple of bars.
如果你做重量训练，他建议你听节奏为每分钟110-145拍的歌曲（比如皇后乐队的《Another One Bites the Dust》）。如果你做的是缓慢重复的力量训练（增加肌肉紧张度，帮助增强肌肉），你应该让你的每一次动作和乐曲中的每几个小节同步。
For a light jog, try songs of around 120bpm such as P!nk's Raise Your Glass. Move on to songs of around 140bpm (such as The Killers' Somebody Told Me), and then up to 170bpm (e.g. MIA's Paper Planes) for higher-intensity runs.
如果你是轻松的慢跑，可以试试节奏为每分钟120拍的歌曲，比如P!nk的《Raise Your Glass》。如果要跑快点，你可以换成每分钟140拍的歌曲（比如杀手乐队的《Somebody Told Me》）。如果要进行高强度的跑步，你可以选择每分钟170拍的歌曲（比如MIA的《Paper Planes》）。
If you prefer the bike, aim for one cycle every two beats of songs from 90 to 168bpm for a relatively moderate pace. For faster pace, aim to cycle with each beat of a song between 80 and 120bpm.
More generally, Karageorghis thinks that we should design our soundtracks to deal with the ups and downs of the workout. If you struggle to get started, for instance, he advises that you "include tracks that embody who you are and make you feel strong and empowered."