The Best Music to Use While Exercising? It’s Not What You Think

When it comes to anything althetic, music can be a powerful motivator.  Conventional wisdom says that we should match our game face music with the heartrate we want to achieve. 

This more-or-less describes the playlist I use when I go running.  I try to find songs with a BPM of between 125 and 135.  And when I need to dig deeper, I switch to a couple of secret weapon songs that help me forget how tired and sore I am.

Sound familiar?  Chances are you do the same thing.  But maybe we’ve got it wrong.  I quote from The Daily Mail:

Studies suggest that music helps us get the most from exercise – but the fast-paced dance tunes favoured by gyms up and down the country isn’t necessarily the best.

Instead, classical music may produce better results. The advice comes from neuroscientist Jack Lewis who scoured reports of research in the field to come up with a list of musically-themed advice for those who are trying to get fit.

He said that while various studies show that music allows people to exercise slightly harder and slightly longer – classical music has added benefits.

Studies show that compared to those exercising without any music playing, having classical music playing in the background helps relax the body. 

Really?  Like what?  Dr. Lewis favours energetic, fast-paced pieces such as the fourth movement of Beethoven’s fourth symphony.

That’s a pretty upbeat bit of tuneage.  So what’s the difference between that and something more rocky?  Or is Dr. Lewis a music snob?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “The Best Music to Use While Exercising? It’s Not What You Think

  • January 21, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I'm pretty curious about your play list for jogging… would you share it?




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.