AUTHOR:
Kim C.

DATE:
December 8, 2015

CATEGORIES:
Healthy Life

READING TIME:
2 minutes

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What Moves You: Finding Music to Complement Your Workout

AUTHOR:
Kim C.

DATE:
December 8, 2015

CATEGORIES:
Healthy Life

READING TIME:
2 minutes

The vast majority of exercisers find listening to music makes their workout more enjoyable and even improves the quality of your workout, if you select your playlist carefully.

The key to using music effectively is knowing how to choose music that will complement the style and pace of your workout. Personal preference, songs you know well, songs with inspiring lyrics, or songs that make you feel a certain emotion (happy, calm, determined, etc.) can make a big difference in your motivation level. But, another factor to take into account is the tempo, or the beats per minute (BPM), of your music.

Ideal music tempo based on activity:

Running – It’s believed that 180 strides per minute is the most efficient running cadence. Choosing music that has a BPM close to this number is a great way to keep on track with this pace as your legs may naturally follow the beat of the music. Look for songs in the 150-180 BPM range.

Other Cardio – Walking, using the elliptical machine, cycling, dancing, or performing aerobic exercises on the floor or a step work best with music between 120 and 150 BPM. You may want to set your workout to start with slower music to warm up, build to faster pace music, and then slow back down until it’s time to cool down. Or, for a great interval workout, mix things up so you vary back and forth between slower and faster pace songs – and movement!

Strength Training – For lifting weights or performing other bodyweight exercises — such as squats, lunges, or pushups — 120-135 BPM is ideal. Following this pace will keep you moving fast enough to raise your heart rate but slow enough to lift safely.

Stretching, Meditation, Yoga, and Pilates – BPM’s in the 60-90 range can help your body relax for stretching and meditation. The beat mimics your resting heart rate and can help encourage you to breathe deeper and slower. For Yoga and Pilates, you should slightly raise the tempo to around 100 BPM.

Where to find good workout music:

Power Music and Dynamix Music – Both of these companies offer versions of popular songs that have been remixed to different BPM’s. On their websites you can browse decades of albums based on activity, purchase a whole album, or create a custom mix with the various BPM’s you need. You can also search Power Music or Dynamix on iTunes or Amazon Music to purchase albums or individual songs.

Steadymixes.com – This website has a wide selection of pre-made, custom-mixed playlists for various activities. You can live stream playlists from their website for free.

Spotify – Personally, one of my favorite ways to get new music ideas, especially for yoga, is to use Spotify. I follow other fitness instructors whose taste in music matches my own. A couple of my favorites are Tory Schaefer, Kimberly Spreen-Glick, and Rob Glick. Rob also posts his playlists for cycling classes he teaches. Spotify also has a new workout mode on its mobile app, which allows you to pick a genre and BPM.

So if good music is what moves you, explore the idea of creating a playlist that will complement and enhance your workout. Let your music be more than just background noise!


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Kim C.

Kim works as the Fitness Specialist at Reynolds Headquarters where she helps employees better understand the steps to developing a healthy lifestyle. She graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan, with a degree in Exercise Science and is an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified group instructor and an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) certified personal trainer. Her passion is running, and she regularly participates in 5k runs in the Dayton area.