Scientists have created the optimal workout playlist

January 17, 2014

Music is as important to working out as having the proper home fitness equipment, a solid fitness plan and the right shoes and clothing.

If you’ve ever gotten onto your home treadmill and then realized your iPod was dead, it probably put a serious damper on your motivation, because listening to upbeat, energetic tunes can really drive a workout and ensure you have a successful session.

Creating the right playlist can also make the difference between a satisfactory and a stellar ride on your stationary bike.

Dr. Costas Karageorghis, deputy head of the School of Sport and Education at Brunel University, recognized the importance of music when it comes to fitness, so he analyzed more than 6.7 million different playlists to create the ultimate list of songs for a workout session. He collaborated with Spotify and decided on tracks that were not only popular, but also put an emphasis on beats-per-minute, which help boost your exercise performance. The mix includes warm-up and cool-down songs, as well as cardio tracks, so you can gradually increase, then decrease, your intensity.

“Music lowers your perception of effort. It can trick your mind into feeling less tired during a workout and also encourage positive thoughts,” Karageorghis told BBC News.

Music works as a great fitness motivator
Karageorghis and his fellow researchers also looked at how men and women were affected by music and learned that the two genders have different tastes. Women were more pumped up by Rihanna and Lady Gaga, whereas men found the “Rocky” theme song “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor, highly motivational. The investigative team had 30 participants exercise on a fitness treadmill while listening to rock and pop songs by musicians such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queen and Madonna. The men and women were told to keep time to the beat, and this showed that music chosen for its tempo increased endurance by 15 percent and helped exercisers feel more pleasure while working out.

“Music is a great way to regulate or modulate your mood. It can enhance positive feelings such as vigor, happiness and excitement, while at the same time it reduces negative feelings such as tension, depression, anger and fatigue,” Karageorghis told BBC News, and he added, “Music blocks out fatigue-related symptoms such as the burning lungs, the beating heart and the lactic acid in the muscles.”

According to Medical daily, these are the top 20 songs chosen by Karageorghis as the optimal playlist:

  1. “Roar” by Katy Perry -92 BPM
  2. “Talk Dirty” by Jason Derulo featuring 2 Chainz – 100 BPM
  3. “Skip To The Good Bit” by Rizzle Kicks – 105 BPM
  4. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams – 116 BPM
  5. “Move by Little Mix” – 120 BPM
  6. “Need U 100%” by Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E – 124 BPM
  7. “You Make Me” by Avicii – 125 BPM
  8. “Feel My Rhythm” by Viralites -128 BPM
  9. “Timber” by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha -130 BPM
  10. “Applause” by Lady Gaga – 140 BPM
  11. “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton – 147 BPM
  12. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams – 160 BPM
  13. “The Monster” by Eminem featuring Rihanna – 110 BPM
  14. “Love Me Again” by John Newman – 126 BPM
  15. “Get Down” by Groove Armada featuring Stush and Red Rat – 127 BPM
  16. “#thatPOWER” by will.i.am featuring Justin Bieber – 128 BPM
  17. “It’s My Party” by Jesse J – 130 BPM
  18. “Play Hard” by David Guetta featuring Ne-Yo and Akon – 130 BPM
  19. “Burn” by Ellie Goulding – 116
  20. “Royals” by Lorde – 85 BPM