Groove rhythm in exercise boosts brain function – Neuroscience News

Summary: A new study has found that combining aerobic exercise with groove rhythm (GR) music can significantly enhance executive function in the brain.

Research conducted with 48 healthy participants aged 18-26 showed that exercising for GR not only increased pleasure but also activated the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) more than standard exercise. Participants who felt their body was resonating with GR experienced a higher sense of euphoria and demonstrated better focus, concentration, and judgment.

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

Important facts:

  1. Practicing rhythmic music increases executive function in the prefrontal cortex.
  2. Participants reported increased arousal and body resonance with the rhythm during GR practice.
  3. The study suggests GR-based exercise as a potential tool to improve brain function and make exercise more enjoyable.

Source: University of Tsukuba

Listening to rhythmic music, especially music with pronounced grooves, produces an intense feeling of euphoria, which motivates individuals to instinctively move their bodies in tune with the rhythm. This natural tendency to synchronize with the music is called groove.

Specifically, aerobic exercise, even at low intensity levels, stimulates the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of the brain, improving executive functions such as attention, concentration, and judgment.

Based on previous research, it was found that individuals with high affinity for groove rhythm (GR) experienced an increase in executive function in the prefrontal cortex simply by listening to GR.

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

In this study, 48 healthy participants aged 18–26 participated in 3 minutes of very light intensity aerobic exercise set at a GR. The results showed that participants who reported their body “resonating with the rhythm” during exercise, along with a subjective feeling of “increased arousal”, had advanced executive function in the prefrontal cortex compared to the standard very mild demonstrated increased activation in the left DLPFC. Intensity exercise. These results were reasonable considering that music preferences vary between individuals.

In Japan, where less than 30% of the population maintains a regular exercise routine, the development of inclusive exercise programs is important. Based on the findings of this research, investigating the effects of groove rhythm-based exercise is expected to introduce “enriched-exercise” as an enjoyable, motivating, and efficient approach to enhancing brain function.


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

About this music, exercise and neuroscience research news

Author: kamoshita kimio
Source: University of Tsukuba
contact: Kamoshita Kimio – University of Tsukuba
image: Image attributed to Neuroscience News

Original Research: open access.
“Groove Rhythm Enhances Exercise Effects on Prefrontal Cortex Function in Groove Enjoyers” by Soya, Hideaki et al. neuroscience


Groove Rhythm Enhances Exercise Effects on Prefrontal Cortex Function in Groove Enjoyers


  • The effects of exercise with groove rhythm (GREX) vary between individuals.
  • GREX enhanced executive function and PFC activity in GrooveX-exposed participants.
  • Psychological responses predicted GREX effects on PFC activity and executive function.
  • Feelings of attraction to Audiomotor and enthusiasm for GREX were key factors.


A positive affective response moderates the effect of aerobic exercise on prefrontal executive function (EF). Groove rhythm (GR), which creates a desire to move to the music, is useful for generating positive emotional responses during exercise.

Three minutes of listening to GR activated the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (L-DLPFC) and increased EF in participants who had a higher psychological response 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 function through body movements and musical beats. 41 participants were given two experimental conditions: three minutes of very light intensity (30% VO).2 peaks) exercise combined with GR and combined with a white-noise metronome (WMAX).

Before and after exercise, participants performed the Stroop task and L-DLPFC activity was monitored with functional near-infrared spectroscopy. GREX increased EF and l-DLPFC activity in participants who experienced greater subjective feelings of audiomotor entrainment and increased arousal with GREX. These psychological responses predicted the effects of GREX on L-DLPFC activity and EF.

These findings, along with previous results, support the hypothesis that GR allows us to promote the cognitive benefits of exercise through L-DLPFC activity only in those who enjoy the groove, and suggest that subjective audiomotor entrainment is a major mechanism of this boosting effect.

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