Correlation between Music and Intensity of Exerecise

The Effect of Music on Exercise Intensity among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot Study
Posted on 05/20/2018
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The "Music/Exercise study" was conducted among thirteen students from Elementary division at BHS in March 2017 with Dr. Ashley Woodman (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Ms. Emily Breviglia (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Ms. Becky Golden (Boston Children's Hospital), and Ms. Hannah Wisniewski (University of Massachusetts Amherst).

Insufficient levels of exercise place children with Autism Spectrum Disorder at risk for physical and mental health issues, including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and depression. Lack of exercise may exacerbate existing sleep and behavior problems in this population. As the results from our PE study showed, vigorous-intensity exercise reduces the number of problematic behaviors, such as stereotypic and self-injurious behaviors. Music has been shown to motivate typically developing individuals to exercise more vigorous; however, little is know about the effect of music on exercise intensity among young individuals with ASD.


This study was designed to measure the impact of music on exercise intensity among children with ASD during structured exercise period with verbal/physical prompts and unstructured exercise period with minimal prompts. During exercise periods, three music conditions were randomly applied (i.e., no music, slow music, and fast music). To measure the intensity of the exercise, the Omron HJA-750C was utilized. This accelerometer measures activity in Metabolic Equivalent of Tasks (METs) every 10 seconds.


The results indicated that levels of vigorous-intensity exercise were significantly higher in the structured exercise period than unstructured exercise period across all music conditions. Surprisingly, the participants were more motivated by slow music than other conditions. Yet, participants with fewer maladaptive behaviors appeared to be motivated by fast music than slow music or no music.


This study was published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, 7(3), 38.

Read the full text of our Journal Article Here

Also, the study was presented in the poster session at the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR, formerly INFAR) in Rotterdam, Netherland from May 9th to May 12th, 2018.


View our Study Poster