Motivational workout music can play a huge role in your success.
Music should be an essential element of your workout strategy. Especially for us Baby Boomers, we absolutely need to feel passion about what we’re doing, or we just won’t do it. Music is a great driver of passion.
It can also distract our minds from something we might regard as tedious. Music helps you “lose yourself” as Eminem said.
“Music lowers your perception of effort. It can trick your mind into feeling less tired during a workout and also encourage positive thoughts:” according to Dr. Costas Karageorghis, deputy head of the School of Sport and Education at Brunel University, London (as told to the BBC).
In 2014, his team analyzed millions of workout playlists on Spotify to come up with the ultimate workout playlist. They also took into account beats-per-minute (BPM) of each song. The goal was to find the optimum “flow” for the athlete.
He characterized Flow as the ultimate state of mind for the athlete. Lost in the activity. Distracted from thoughts of fatigue. We might also call it the “Zone.”
“Music helps to induce alpha brain wave activity which is responsible for our dreams and rest states,” he told the BBC.
The same study found a difference between men and women. With men leaning toward songs like “Eye of the Tiger” and women preferring female pop singers like Lady Gaga.
Personally, I relied on the same playlist for many years to help fuel my workouts. And it was a whole bunch of man tunes, just like Eye of the Tiger, with lots of classic Van Halen rock and roll. Very upbeat, positive.
Today, I lean toward Amazon’s Top Pop hits or something similar on Pandora or I-Tunes. Today’s pop music seems to be pretty ideal for an up-tempo, positive flow.
But other kinds of music can work just as well. In fact, whatever music makes you feel powerful, positive emotions can trigger the same response, according to the study. Broadway show tunes, classical, jazz. Whichever upbeat tunes help you to lose yourself into the flow.
Triggering those positive emotions helps with endurance. Again, you’re distracted from fatigue and without conscious effort, you’re in the flow. It’s an almost hypnotic state when we get it right. Like exercise itself, music also helps release natural feel-good chemicals into our blood stream. It adds a real boost to the powerful ‘high’ the combo produces.
Here are the top 20 songs the research team identified. Dated to 2014, so by all means update your own. You could use this as a thought-starter. Just think: UpBeat, Positive, and Beats-Per-Minute (not slow).
The Top Twenty:
- Roar by Katy Perry – 92 BPM
- Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo – 100 BPM
- Skip to the Good Bit by Rizzle Kicks – 105 BPM
- Get Lucky by Daft Punk – 116 BPM
- Move by Little Mix – 120 BPM
- Need U by Little Mix – 120 BPM
- You Make Me by Avicii – 125 BPM
- Feel My Rhythm by Viralites – 128 BPM
- Timber by Pitbull/Kesha – 130 BPM
- Applause by Lady Gaga – 140 BPM
- Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – 147 BPM
- Happy by Pharrell Williams – 160 BPM
- The Monster by Eminem/Rhianna – 110 BPM
- Love Me Again by John Newman – 126 BPM
- Get Down by Groove Armada – 127 BPM
- #thatPOWER by will.i.am – 128 BPM
- It’s My Party by Jesse J – 130 BPM
- Play Hard by David Guetta – 130 BPM
- Burn by Ellie Goulding – 116 BPM
- Royals by Lorde – 85 BPM