The groove rhythm of exercise enhances brain function – Neuroscience news

Summary: A new study has shown that combining aerobic exercise with groove rhythm (GR) music can significantly improve the brain’s executive function.

The study was conducted with 48 healthy participants aged 18–26. The study revealed that GR training not only increased pleasure, but also activated the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) more than regular training. Participants who felt their bodies resonated with GR experienced heightened tension and demonstrated improved attention, focus, and judgment.

This finding is particularly important in Japan, where less than 30% of the population exercises regularly, suggesting that GR-enhanced exercise could provide a more enjoyable and cognitively beneficial approach to fitness.

The most important facts:

  1. Training to groove to rhythmic music improves the executive function of the prefrontal cortex.
  2. Participants reported increased tension and body resonance with the rhythm during GR practice.
  3. The study suggests GR-based exercise as a possible tool to improve brain function and make exercise more enjoyable.

Source: University of Tsukuba

Listening to rhythmic music, especially music with a pronounced groove, creates a heightened sense of tension, which causes people to instinctively move their bodies in time with the beat. This natural tendency to move in harmony with the music is called groove.

In particular, aerobic exercise, even at low intensity, stimulates the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of the brain, which improves executive functions such as attention, concentration, and judgment.

Building on previous research, it was found that individuals with a high affinity for groove rhythm (GR) experienced increased executive activity in the prefrontal cortex simply by listening to GR.

As a result, the research team explored the potential synergy of combining GR and exercise to enhance the enjoyment and cognitive benefits of physical activity.

In this study, 48 healthy participants aged 18–26 years performed 3 minutes of very light intensity aerobic exercise at a GR level. The results revealed that participants who reported their body “resonating with the rhythm” during exercise combined with subjective “increased excitement” showed enhanced executive function in the prefrontal cortex and increased activation in the left DLPFC compared to the normal very light. intense exercise. These results were reasonable considering that music preferences vary between individuals.

In Japan, where less than 30% of the population does regular exercise, the development of inclusive exercise programs is crucial. Based on the results of this study, investigating the effects of groove-based training is expected to highlight “enriched training” as an enjoyable, motivating and effective way to improve brain function.


This work was supported in part by a grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). [16H06405 (HS), 18H04081 (HS), and 18J10631 (TF)]; Grant from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST). [JPMJMI19D5 (HS)]; Meiji Yasuda Life Foundation of Health and Welfare Grant (TF) and University of Tsukuba Advanced Research Initiative for Human High Performance (ARIHHP) grant.

About this music, exercise and neuroscience research news

Factor: KAMOSHITA Kimio
Source: University of Tsukuba
Contact: KAMOSHITA Kimio – University of Tsukuba
Picture: The image is credited to Neuroscience News

Original research: Open access.
“Groove Rhythm Enhances Exercise Impact on Prefrontal Cortex Function in Groove Enjoyers”, SOYA, Hideaki et al. Neuroscience


Groove rhythm enhances the effect of exercise on prefrontal cortex activity in groove cattle


  • The effects of exercise groove rhythm (GREX) have varied among individuals.
  • GREX enhanced leadership and PFC activities with participants familiar with GrooveEx.
  • Psychological responses predicted the effects of GREX on PFC activity and executive functions.
  • The key factors were the feelings of audiomotor activity and excitement for GREX.


Positive affective response modulates the effects of aerobic exercise on prefrontal executive function (EF). Groove rhythm (GR), which evokes the feeling of wanting to move to the music, is useful for eliciting a positive affective response during exercise.

Listening to 3 minutes of GR activated the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (l-DLPFC) and improved EF in participants with higher psychological responses to GR.

This finding led us to test the hypothesis that the combination of GR and exercise (GREX) induces positive psychological responses that enhance PFC activity in response to body movements and music beats. 41 participants were given two experimental conditions: three minutes of high intensity (30% VO2 peak) exercise combined with GR and combined with a white noise metronome (WMEX).

Before and after training, participants performed a Stroop task and were monitored for l-DLPFC activity using functional near-infrared spectroscopy. GREX enhanced EF and l-DLPFC activity in participants who experienced greater subjective feelings of audiomotor movement and increased excitement with GREX. These psychological responses predicted the effect of GREX on l -DLPFC activity and EF.

These findings, together with previous results, support the hypothesis that GR allows us to enhance the cognitive benefits of exercise through l-DLPFC activity only in groove enjoyers and suggest that subjective audiomotor flow is a key mechanism of this enhancing effect.

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