Rock the Treadmill: Fast Songs Boost Your Workout

Amy Kuras

walkmanWhen a track and field organization banned iPods and other music players from sanctioned races some years ago, there was an initial uproar. And, then everybody proceeded to ignore the rule. For good reason, it turns out: Faster music actually makes you exercise harder and enjoy it more, too.

When I was training for a 5K, music saved me. My go-to song to pull me out of those miserable "I cannot do this another minute, OHMIGOD why did I think running was a good idea, wheeze, sniffle, I don't even like exercise at all" moments was ... don't laugh ... Eminem's "Lose Yourself." And, yes, I am a deeply uncool 40-year-old white lady (although I do live mere blocks south of the 8 Mile of movie fame). The song's slow, strong beat matched my, um, deliberate pace perfectly.

My workout favorites tend toward the loud rock and hip-hop. My husband, with whom I share an iPod, leans toward dance music; the Christina Aguilera and Black Eyed Peas on our iPod are all his. And yeah, OK, I might make just the teensiest bit of fun of him for that.

Digital players like the iPod are the best thing ever for exercise; I used to be the Queen of the Mix Tape for exercising, but there was always that one song that didn't fit in or hit at the wrong place in my workout (nothing like hearing your gentle cooldown Indigo Girls track when you're challenging yourself to power through 10 more minutes). When the music mismatch hits now, it's a split second click until I'm on to something better. And I can quickly build playlists that fit whatever workout I'm doing ... and allow the husband to keep his Xtina to himself.

What's your workout soundtrack?


Image via Asim Bijarani/Flickr

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