self care, exerciseIf you’re like us, you try to exercise to improve your health and fitness. Maybe you’ve tried one of our least favorite exercises: the dreaded plank. In this form of torture, you face down and balance on your toes and elbows, keeping your trunk rigid and horizontal, suspended above the ground for a specified period of time (Dave can manage 60 seconds).

It’s so excruciating that we’re always trying to figure out how to make the time pass quicker while we do planks. For years, researchers and marketers have known that playing music in waiting rooms can make visitors feel like time is passing faster. So listening to music while you do planks would probably make them (slightly) more bearable.

But what hasn’t been known until much more recently is what kind of music is best. At the gym where Dave works out, a variety of popular hits are piped in — everything from heavy metal to slow ballads.

A study led by Sylvie Droit-Volet suggests that if Dave wants his 60 seconds of torture to pass by as quickly as possible, he should wait for a slow ballad to come on before he attempts a plank. You might think that a livelier hard-rock or dance tune would make the time pass faster, but this study suggests that you would be wrong. Here’s why.