Sound-induced stabilization of breathing and moving.

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

PubMedID: 25773622

Bardy BG, Hoffmann CP, Moens B, Leman M, Dalla Bella S. Sound-induced stabilization of breathing and moving. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2015;1337(1):94-100.
In humans and other animals, the locomotor and respiratory systems are coupled together through mechanical, neurophysiological, and informational interactions. At a macroscopic observer-environment level, these three types of interactions produce locomotor-respiratory coupling (LRC), whose dynamics are evaluated in this paper. A formal analysis of LRC is presented, exploiting tools from synchronization theories and nonlinear dynamics. The results of two recent studies, in which participants were instructed to cycle or exhale at a natural frequency or in synchrony with an external rhythmic sound, are discussed. The metronome was either absent or present (study 1) and close to or far from the natural frequency of the cycling and breathing systems (study 2). The results evidenced a stabilization of cycling, breathing, and LRC when sound was present compared to when it was absent. A decrease in oxygen consumption was also observed, accompanying the increase in sound-induced LRC stabilization. These results obtained with a simple rhythmic metronome beat have consequences for exercising while listening to music; the consequences are further explored here.