Singing “Macarena” Can Help Improve CPR

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. mentally / ˈmen.t̬əl.i / (adv) – using the mind

    He is mentally prepared but is still nervous about the competition.

  2. lifesaving / ˈlaɪfˌseɪ.vɪŋ / (adj) – used or done to save lives

    You should keep lifesaving tools that you can use in case of emergencies.

  3. fall within / fawl wɪˈðɪn / (phrasal) – to be inside the range of something

    She bought the bag at the mall because it fell within her price range.

  4. dummy / ˈdʌm·i / (n) – a doll that looks like a person

    Medical students use dummies to practice CPR.

  5. fare / feər / (v) – to perform or progress (either well or badly)

    All of the students fared well on their science test.


Read the text below.

A new study revealed that mentally singing the ‘90s hit song Macarena is helpful when performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation [ri-SUHS-i-tey-shuh n] (CPR).

CPR, a lifesaving technique used in emergencies, is done by pressing up and down on a person’s chest. To be effective, the speed of the presses needs to be between 100 and 120 beats per minute (bpm). Macarena’s speed of 103 bpm falls within the target range, which makes the song a good reference for the ideal CPR rate.

The researchers from Spain came to this conclusion after studying 164 medical students who were asked to do CPR. While performing CPR on a dummy, the first group mentally sang Macarena, while the second group used an app that rings at 103 bpm. The last group was not given any specific instruction.

In the Macarena group, 74% of the presses were within the recommended beats per minute. The group that used the app performed better with 91% of the presses falling within the target range. The group that had no guidance fared at only 24%.

While the participants considered the app as the most helpful, they said that mentally singing Macarena still proved to be beneficial. This is supported by Lana Gent, a director from the American Heart Association (AHA). She explained that music can help people remember the correct rhythm of presses when doing CPR.

The AHA keeps online playlists that include songs with a speed of 98 to 104 bpm. The playlists include Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees and newer songs from artists like Fall Out Boy and Beyoncé. All are available for people to download for free.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Should basic CPR training be mandatory for everyone? Why or why not?
• Do you think researchers should further look into how CPR can be improved?

Discussion B

• Why do you think first aid training is important?
• What other first aid techniques do you think people should learn? Discuss.