Using Rhythm in Your Workouts

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Staying motivated and feeling strong are keys to exercising. Few things help more towards those ends than music does. Do you have a favorite style of music to listen to in the morning, in the car, on the way to work? Anything that awakens you, pumps you up for the day to come? Well, this same style of music is probably perfect for working out.

Music keeps you going, keeps you focused, and distracts you from the fatigue or boredom that many people feel when working out. In other words, music directly helps you stay fit and healthy by making you exercise for longer. Whether it’s jogging or lifting weights, listening to inspiring tunes — jazz, country, rock, oldies, dance, whatever — could make your workout more efficient and beneficial.

Pump yourself up with some rhythmic, pleasurable music you love. A workout is so much easier when you are in an upbeat mood. Let’s break it down for specific types of exercise. In the cardiovascular vein — jogging, walking, and cycling, for instance — up-tempo music is a must. Whatever style of music you love, make sure there’s a quick beat, songs that drive forward. This will help drive your legs and keep you moving.

And weightlifting? The best style of music for this is the intense kind. Where you want a pulsating rhythm when you do cardio, weightlifting would exchange up-tempo for dramatically rich tunes. Classic and modern rock are good choices. Even choose music a little more intense than what is typically your taste; it might make that extra difference when you’re thinking about stopping after five repetitions on the chest press, instead of going the full 10.

For any other styles of workout, calisthenics and aerobic exercise for example, find some great classic songs that span any tempo. Any decade of music is great, or any global style. Aerobics requires a lot of different movements at varying speeds, so you need to stay energized to keep with it. Get yourself a tape or CD that spans different tempos for optimal energy. Choose music you are familiar with; you will be able to move to its rhythms with greater ease, as your mind awaits the tempo changes, preparing your body to lunge and move along with it.

That’s what music is: it is food for the brain that will keep your muscles going though they might be getting tired. There are companies that specialize in music for workouts, taking recognizable classics and speeding them up to dance remixes. You can check them out, or use your own collection. Only you, after all, know what’s inspiring and motivational.