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We Got the Beat
It appears that Karageorghis was born to study the link between music and exercise nirvana. A passionate music lover, he’s also an accomplished musician who plays piano in a jazz trio. His musical tastes are boundless; his iPod pingpongs from Beethoven’s “Eroica” symphony to Van Morrison’s “Moondance” to “Need U (100%)” by Duke Dumont, featuring A*M*E.

Then there’s his athletic bona fides: As a track athlete in college, Karageorghis won a bronze medal in the 100-meter dash at the British Colleges Track and Field Championship in the early 1990s. As a teen athlete during summer training sessions in the 1980s at the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre in South London, he’d occasionally see American stars like Edwin Moses and Willie Banks — and watch in fascination as these Sony Walkman-carrying track gods used music for motivation.

NOW YOU KNOW: Since the early 1990s, Dr. Karageorghis has supplemented his time at work by managing and coaching the Brunel University Athletics Team.
In fact, Karageorghis’ story would make for a good Broadway plot (Costas — The Musical! starring Zac Efron): Boy grows up while living in a flat in culturally diverse South London. Most mornings, a Bob Marley-­lovin’ Rastafarian who owns a secondhand record store below jolts him out of bed with fat, floorboard-rattling bass grooves. Boy observes how the blaring record-store music makes passing pedestrians shake their groove. As a teen, boy watches world-class athletes use music to boost performance before then going on himself to become a competitive sprinter in college. Boy then gets hired at Brunel and establishes a career as the Music Man of sport and exercise psychology and finally compiles the mother of all playlists that motivates people the world over to exercise and lead healthier lifestyles. (Soundtrack available soon on iTunes.)

Actually, that ending’s not far from the truth; Karageorghis fervently believes that music-related physical activity could help stem the obesity and diabetes epidemic that’s afflicting the Western world. Sound quixotic? Perhaps. But he makes a valid point.

“Most people don’t enjoy exercising,” he explains. “The intensity of exercise required to obtain good benefits is associated with negative mood responses, so more than 50 percent of people quit their exercise programs within six months. But well-selected music limits those negative aspects,” he concludes. “So a structured music program is the way to go.”

And who knows? It might even soothe the savage beast. 

KEN WYSOCKY is a freelance writer and editor in ­Milwaukee who’d rather stick knitting needles in his eyes than hear “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” at the gym again.