There is a tight link between the rhythm of external information (e.g., auditory) and movement. It can be seen when we spontaneously or deliberately move on the beat of music (e.g., in dance), or when we enjoy performing physical and sport activities (e.g., running or cycling) together with music. This propensity to match movement to rhythm is natural, develops very precociously, and is likely hard-wired in humans. Yet, it is unclear where this ergogenic power of music comes from. It can be merely due to music’s tendency to drive attention away from people’s feelings of fatigue. Alternatively, music may foster efficient coupling of biological rhythms that are key contributors to performance, such as locomotion and respiration. In this presentation, we present the main concepts underlying the BeatHealth European project, which exploit this compelling link between music and movement for boosting individual performance and enhancing health and wellness. We present the first version of our intelligent technological architecture – BeatHealth, which delivers embodied, flexible, and efficient rhythmical stimulation adapted to the individual’s skills. We present the results of several experiments, performed in young adults during running, and in Parkinson patients during walking, showing the often beneficial but sometimes detrimental effect of moving in music, and their consequences for sport performance, rehabilitation of movement disorders, efficiency in daily work, and the development of new music technologies.
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