What music do you go with? ISLANDtravel musicyou choose can affect the effectiveness of your workout. Researchers have studied the relationship between different types of music and exercise and found that choosing music within specific BPM (beats per minute) ranges can help you reach your exercise goals.
Selecting music based on BPM helps you keep up as you walk. Different exercises require a different BPM range. You can also choose songs with different BPMs for different parts of your workout, from warm-up to cool-down.
In a research review published by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), Carl Foster, PhD, of the Exercise and Health Program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, explained a principle calledentertainmentor synchronize.
In short, our bodies like to move to the music. When we walk, we want to step to the beat. When you keep a regular pace, it's easier to maintain the right training intensity.
That's why it's smart to choose a song with a BPM that matches your desired walking pace. The faster the beat, the more yourswalking pace increasesit's atthe more you work.
The health benefits of walking as exercise
Selection of BPM
When choosing songs for your playlist, choose songs that you likedifferent BPM intervals. You can vary the tempo of your music to match the purpose of the different phases of the workout.
Your warm-up should include motivational songs that fall in a lower BPM range (90-115 BPM).Songs around 100 BPM include Beyoncé's "Crazy in Love" and Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama."
Once heated, you can increase the time. A good moderate walk BPM ranges from 120 to 140. "Move" by Little Mix (120 BPM), "It's My Party" by Jesse J (130 BPM) and "Applause" by Lady Gaga (140 BPM) are good songs for days when you want to keep your training moderate.
Experienced hikers may choose to increase it to 145 BPM for a faster pace. For running, you want music in the 147 to 169 BPM range.
10 ways to walk your way to fitness and health
More benefits of music
The music you choose for your walking workout has other benefits that can help make your workout more effective. Costas Karageorghis, PhD, from London's Brunel University School of Sport and Education, says music can have a powerful influence.
Costas Karageorghis, PhD
Music is like a legal drug for athletes. It can significantly reduce perceived exertion and increase endurance by up to 15%.
— Costas Karageorghis, PhD
Music makes it easier to get through your workout if you struggle to maintain energy andmotivationduring training. You can even get more work done with a great playlist.
According to the authors of a 2017 study on music and exercise, "music captures attention, triggers a range of emotions, changes or regulates mood, increases work output, increases arousal, induces higher functional states, lowers inhibitions, and encourages rhythmic movement".
Find music by BPM
Several apps and programs can help you find music based on your bpm goals.
- PaceDJ: This free app for iOS or Android searches your phone for songs that match your chosen BPM, so you can create your own playlist. If you're looking for new music, the app also suggests playlists for moderate walks, light walks and runs.
- BeatTunes: This is a shareware iTunes helper that analyzes the beats per minute of your music and helps you organize your iTunes library. BeaTunes offers a two-week free trial, after which you must purchase a license.
- Podrunner: This page offers fixed tempo music mix downloads that match your chosen BPM. It is supported by donations.
- Go past Jog.fm: This app that allows you to search and download complete playlists based on BPM.
- Spotify: Search this paid streaming service for walking, running or other workout playlists in your desired BPM range.
Walking music for playlists
These walking workout music mix recommendations target a variety of BPM ranges. Use these suggestions to mix and match a playlist that suits your taste andgo goal.
Complete album for walks
One of the simplest ways to create a go playlist is to start with an album you like. Rearrange songs by BPM to fit your complete workout, from warm-up to cool-down.
|R&B||"Remix" by Deborah Cox||Complements a walking speed of 4 mph|
|Land||The Chickens 'Taking the Long Way'||A great mix of fast paced music and slower warm up or cool down options|
|Land||Juice Newtons "Greatest Hits: Nashville"||energetic and fun|
|Christian rock||Hosanna Integritys "Shout to the Lord 2000"||Contains some fast and intense songs like "Friends in High Places" and "My Redeemer Lives"|
|70s pop||"The Definitive Collection" af ABBA||A fun album with plenty of songs to match a brisk walk|
Walking Music Mix para 4 a 5 mph
For a walking pace around 4-5 mph, choose songs with a BPM of 140 and work your way up to 170. This sample mix includes folk, country, classic rock, techno and heavy metal.
- "Toxic" af Britney Spears (140 BPM)
- "Don't Be a Girl About It" af Kelly Clarkson (140 BPM)
- "The Man Who Never Lost" af Maroon 5 (140 BPM)
- "Sk8r Boi" by Avril Lavigne (150 BPM)
- "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Miley Cyrus (152 BPM)
- "Back on the Chain Band" af The Pretenders (153 BPM)
- "Hey you!" by Outkast (160 BPM)
- "Gratitude" af The Beastie Boys (161 BPM)
- "Head Over Feet" af Alanis Morissette (161 BPM)
- "Boys 'Round Here" af Blake Shelton (170 BPM)
- "Settle Me Down" af Zac Brown (170 BPM)
- "I Shot the Sheriff" af Bob Marley (172 BPM)
Walking Music Mix para 3,2 til 3,5 mph
If you're looking for a slightly slower pace, walking at speeds of 3.2 to 3.5 miles per hour (120 to 130 beats per minute) complements this list. It's heavy on 70s and 80s disco.
- "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer (120 BPM)
- "Please Mr. Postman" af The Marvelettes (120 BPM)
- "Don't Stop" af Fleetwood Mac (120 BPM)
- "Give it to me, give it to me, give it to me!" by ABBA (120 BPM)
- "Get Ready For This" by 2 Unlimited (123 BPM)
- "Get on Your Feet" af Gloria Estefan (124 BPM)
- "Disturbia" af Rihanna (125 BPM)
- "Born to be Alive" af Patrick Hernandez (131 BPM)
- "Glory" by Laura Branigan (131 BPM)
- "Jump" af Pointer Sisters (134 BPM)
Other blends to try
Looking for a mix that spans genres from funk to rap? This playlist has a little bit of everything:
- "Wildfire" by Michael Murphey (80 BPM)
- "Sexual Cure" by Marvin Gaye (94 BPM)
- "It Wasn't Me" af Shaggy (96 BPM)
- "Pon de Replay (Radio Edit)" by Rihanna (99 BPM)
- "Bananza (Belly Dancer)" by Akon (105 BPM)
- "Get Down On It" af Kool & The Gang (110 BPM)
- "Dr. Feelgood" af Mötley Crüe (110 BPM)
- "Strokin'" by Clarence Carter (115 BPM)
- "Don't Cha (Kaskade Radio Edit)" af The Pussycat Dolls & Busta Rhymes (120 BPM)
- "Black Betty" af Ram Jam (120 BPM)
- "100% Pure Love" af Crystal Waters (120 BPM)
- "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" af Trace Adkins (124 BPM)
- "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" af Tony Bennett (128 BPM)
Or maybe you're a big fan of oldies and late 80s and 90s music:
- "Red Rubber Ball" by Cyrkle (92 BPM)
- "Magic Carpet Ride" af Steppenwolf (111 BPM)
- "Centerfold" by J. Geils Band (114 BPM)
- "Sooner or Later" af The Grass Roots (120 BPM)
- "Up" af Shania Twain (126 BPM)
- "Glory" by Laura Brannigan (131 BPM)
- "Midnight Confessions" af The Grass Roots (132 BPM)
- "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" på Beatles (138 BPM)
- "Sultans of Swing" af Dire Straits (148 BPM)
- "All My Loving" på Beatles (156 BPM)
- "Walk of Life" af Dire Straits (172 BPM)
- "Freeze Frame" J. Geils Band (186 BPM)
How to create your own playlist
A word from Verywell
Remember that music can make a big difference in your training. Spend some time trying out new music, creating new playlists, and experimenting with different beats per minute intervals to challenge yourself as you go. You may find that this increases your pace and allows you to increase your training to achieve new goals.
Best free walking apps for hikers
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. Read oureditorial processto learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
Patania VM, Padulo J, Iuliano E, et al.The psychophysiological effects of different musical rhythms on endurance versus high-intensity performance.Front Psychol. 2020;11:74. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00074
American Council on Exercise.Exploring the effect of music on exercise intensity.
A healthier Michigan.The science behind the perfect workout playlist.
Thakare AE, Mehrotra R, Singh A.Effect of music tempo on exercise performance and heart rate among young adults.Int J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol. 2017;9(2):35-39.
Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer who covers walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in over 1,000 walking events.
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Research shows that walking to a steady beat or music helps improve walking speed, stride length, walk rhythm and symmetry (7;8). These encouraging results are supported by other studies about the benefits of music, particularly for people who have had a stroke (8;9).Does music help walking? ›
Research shows that walking to a steady beat or music helps improve walking speed, stride length, walk rhythm and symmetry (7;8). These encouraging results are supported by other studies about the benefits of music, particularly for people who have had a stroke (8;9).What is good music to listen to while walking? ›
- Day Dreaming – Aretha Franklin.
- Here, There And Everywhere – The Beatles.
- Baltimore – Nina Simone.
- Use Me – Bill Withers.
- Cannock Chase – Labi Siffre.
- august – Taylor Swift.
- Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac.
- I Feel the Earth Move – Carole King.
- 1. “ Stronger” by Kayne West. ...
- “FU,” by Miley Cyrus feat. ...
- “One More Time/Aerodynamic” by Daft Punk. ...
- “I Like It” by Cardi B feat. ...
- “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé ...
- “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish. ...
- “Raising Hell” by Kesha feat. ...
- “Body Movin' (Fatboy Slim remix)” by the Beastie Boys.
According to Relationship and Mind Coach, Md Ansar Ali, the ideal BPM for walking and other workouts is between 125 and 140 beats per minute. The benefits of choosing tracks within this tempo range can be great, with studies showing that listening to music can even increase performance.Is it good to walk without music? ›
Exercising with music can help you get through a tough workout, and it might help you perform better. But skipping the tunes and other distractions during your workout might enable you to train your mind (and muscles) to be present during exercise.Will walking everyday tone your body? ›
Walking can tone more than just your legs. In fact, it can help you get a flatter stomach and firmer glutes too. To achieve this, you need to focus on using those target muscles while you walk.What should I listen to on an hour walk? ›
- Ted Talks Daily.
- Ted Radio Hour.
- Stuff You Should Know.
- This American Life.
- Planet Money.
- 99% Invisible.
- Tim Ferriss Show.
Walk (Pantera song)
|Songwriter(s)||Dimebag Darrell Vinnie Paul Phil Anselmo Rex Brown|
Andante – at a walking pace (73–77 BPM) Moderato – moderately (86–97 BPM) Allegretto – moderately fast (98–109 BPM) Allegro – fast, quickly and bright (109–132 BPM)
- Rage Against The Machine – Bulls on Parade.
- Guns N' Roses – Welcome to the Jungle.
- Trapt – Headstrong.
- Queen – We Will Rock You.
- Skrillex & Rick Ross – Purple Lamborghini.
- Rudimental – Not Giving In.
- Flux Pavilion – I Can't Stop.
- Foo Fighters – The Pretender.
Music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort and may even promote metabolic efficiency. When listening to music, people run farther, bike longer and swim faster than usual—often without realizing it.Why does music help me workout? ›
Music stimulates the part of the brain that controls movement, so it helps your body complete repetitive movements more efficiently. This synchronization increases your heart rate, metabolism, and energy efficiency, while also reducing blood pressure and physical and mental stress.How can I improve my walking? ›
Build activity slowly – start with a 20 minute walk then increase gradually. Try to walk at least three times per week. Use the correct technique – walk at a steady pace, swing your arms freely and stand as straight as you can. Your feet should step in a rolling action from the heel to the toe.Is a 10 minute walk better than nothing? ›
Ten minutes of moderate exercise daily would prevent more than 111,000 premature deaths a year, a new analysis found.Is it better to walk 30 minutes or 60 minutes? ›
Study results showed that taking a walking break for 1 minute every 30 minutes also provided modest benefits in blood sugar levels, but walking every 60 minutes provided no benefit, regardless of it being 1 or 5 minutes.Why do I walk faster with music? ›
The strong beats encourage a faster gait—people strode quicker when music emphasized the beat and this heavy throb also led to the negative connotations. When a song uses a weakened beat, swelling tone, or syncopation (off-beat notes), it causes people to walk with an unhurried, loping pace, Leman explains.Is music as good as exercises? ›
Music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort and may even promote metabolic efficiency. When listening to music, people run farther, bike longer and swim faster than usual—often without realizing it.How can music help people regain their ability to walk? ›
Those experiments, he said, revealed that using music with the right tempo can improve their walking ability by synchronizing their movements to a rhythmic beat that gives them the timing for their movement.What effect does music have on walking speed? ›
High groove music elicited faster gait in both age groups, with longer strides only among young adults, than low groove music; synchronizing maximized these effects. Older adults with poor beat perception were more negatively affected by unfamiliar stimuli while walking than younger adults.
Sound and Motion
Researchers at the University of Oslo in Norway have determined that "people perceive and make sense of what they hear by mentally simulating the body motion thought to be involved in the making of sound." So when you tap your feet to music, it's actually your brain making sense of the sound.
Music makes you exercise harder
A study by Karageorghis in the Journal of Sports Exercise Psychology found that motivational music helped exercisers push through fatigue. In an American Council on Exercise article he says that music can increase endurance during a workout up to 15 percent.
New research has revealed that when we listen to music we tend to mentally simulate the body movements we believe have gone into producing the sound. Often this mental recreation spills over into movement itself as our feet tap along to a drum beat, or hands strum a bit of air guitar.What kind of music is best for cardio? ›
Whether running on a treadmill or out in the open, hip-hop provides the best beats, while dance music is more effective if you're focused on high-intensity workouts such as strength training.Does music increase strength? ›
Multiple studies have found that listening to music can boost your athletic performance, either by increasing the distance you run, the pace at which you travel, or how many reps you complete.Is practicing music good for the brain? ›
A process that is important for learning and memory in the hippocampus is neurogenesis — the formation of new neurons. Due to this, musical practice may enhance neurogenesis linked to improved learning and memory activity.