Edit ModuleShow Tags

How to Use Music as an Exercise Motivator


Creating a playlist designed for your workout can help give you the energy to push through even the toughest parts.

Photo Courtesy of IKO - Fotolia

Fighting through the hardest part of a workout is one of the toughest challenges faced when focused on your fitness. When it feels like you don’t have the energy or that pushing through is just too hard, instead of giving up, opt for a song. That’s right, a song.

It turns out music can help alter your mood, and those qualities can be used towards improving your exercise, according to researchers at Brunel University in London. A song can help reduce perceived exertion, increase perceived endurance and improve overall exercise effects.

As someone on a new running routine, (read more on Tips for the Beginning Runner) I need every ounce of help I can get to keep my energy up, and I’ve found using music is one way to help with that. So how exactly does it work?

The science is based around the beats per minute (BPM) of a song and syncing the BMP with your exercise pace to help keep your own personal tempo up. Songs that are in a range of 120-140 BPM work best for workouts, and by arranging the songs to increase in speed—similar to that in a workout plan that includes peaks and plateaus—you can build up your energy with the music.

Apps such as Tempo Run and RockMyRun, among others, can help to create playlists for you, but arranging it on your own isn’t tough either. Jog.fm or Song BPM are both websites with information on the BPM of numerous songs, and Jog.fm also has a number of playlists to take inspiration from, too.

If there is a song that isn’t listed, measuring it yourself is completely doable. Just play the song for 30 seconds, count the number of beats you hear and then multiply that by two. Just be sure to keep your songs between the 120-140 BPM range to best reap the benefits of paired music.

Even if you don’t want to craft an entire playlist—I prefer to have a few songs within the range on shuffle—you still can optimize the use of what I like to call a “power song.” Paired with the beats per minute, a song with a positive, uplifting or motivational message can also give you a boost of energy. This is especially true with a song you really love, as we associate positive emotions with happy memories, according to researchers at Brunel College.

If you have a favorite song with a BPM between 120-140 and a message that gets you pumped, play it during the toughest part of your workout and it can help push you through it.

Here are three songs I love to run to and their BPM to help get you started with your own playlist.

Beginning of your workout: “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 at 128 BPM.

Middle of your workout: “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons at 136 BPM—this is also my power song.

Peak of your workout: “Applause” by Lady Gaga at 140 BPM.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Bad Axe Throwing Opens Minneapolis Location

Axe throwing makes its debut in Northeast Minneapolis—and it's not as dangerous as it sounds

Visit Award-Winning Minnesota Distilleries

Tattersall Distilling, J. Carver Distillery, and RockFilter Distillery are all worth the trip

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: March

Sue Z. picks Cochon555 as her philanthropic food event this month

5 Must-See Minnesota Public Gardens

Visiting these botanical wonders are sure to make your daisy

How Jason Voorhees Came to Haunt an Iron Range Mine

The "Friday the 13th" icon, in the depths of a northern MN mine, goes viral—but what else is lurking down there?

A Day Trip to St. Peter

Located in the Minnesota River Valley, St. Peter is full of Minnesota history and small-town charm

5 Unusual Minnesota Attractions

We all love Mall of America and Minnehaha Falls, but these five out-of-the-ordinary state attractions provide relief from the norm

St. Patrick's Day Festivities

Check out these exciting St. Patrick's Day events happening all around Minnesota.

The Best Road-Trip Pies in Greater MN (and WI)

Celebrate Pie Day at any of these statewide destinations

Minnesotans Medal in PyeongChang Olympics

Minnesota native athletes bring home Olympics medals in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

St. Patrick's Day Suds

These Minneapolis and St. Paul pubs are the perfect spots to ring in the Irish holiday all month long

A Day Trip to New Ulm

Schell's Bock Fest, Minnesota history, and tasty food await in this southwest Minnesota town

Top 5 Places to Dog Sled in Minnesota

Try the exhilarating experience of dog sledding and take in the beauty of winter in Minnesota.

This Weekend: What Is Snowkiting?

At Lake Mille Lacs, a new sport catches wind. Here's how you can get started.
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags