I’ll be honest, sometimes music is the only thing that gets me through a workout or a run. I don’t know why, but I can’t stand to hear myself breathing heavily! It seems to psych me out – making me think my body is too tired to do much more – so I prefer to have headphones on or speakers blasting while I exercise. If you’re the same way, I highly recommend building your next playlist based on BPM – beats per minute!
Let’s start with your heart rate. Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute while it’s at rest. The American Heart Association says that the average resting heart rate for children 10 years and older, and adults (including seniors) is 60 – 100 beats per minute. For well-trained athletes the average resting rate is 40 – 60 beats per minute.
The table below shows estimated target heart rates for different ages. Heart rate during moderately intense activities is about 50-69% of your maximum heart rate, whereas heart rate during hard physical activity is about 70% to less than 90% of the maximum heart rate.
Keeping that in mind, the ideal workout song will at least keep in time with your active heartbeat, which for most of us, lies between 90-150 – so try to aim for songs at around 120 BPM on average! An easy way to find out the beats per minute of a song is to use this online calculator, and you can also search “BPM” on Pandora or Spotify to find pre-made mixes.
A great way to make your playlist is to have your BPM increase as you go, giving you a final push at the end of your workout when you might need it most. Or if you’re going on a run with various inclines, you might throw in a higher BPM at the start of your ascent to help you make it up the hill. Seriously, it works! Here are a few of my current favorite exercise tracks, in order from lowest to highest:
- Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen (89 BPM)
- Can’t Stop the Feeling – JT (113 BPM)
- Thunder Clatter – Wild Cub (123 BPM)
- America’s Sweetheart – Elle King (128 BPM)
- My Body – Young the Giant (130 BPM)
- Brand New – Ben Rector (145 BPM)
- Go Go Gadget – Lupe Fiasco (148 BPM)
- Dog Days are Over – Florence and the Machine (150 BPM)
- What’s My Age Again? – Blink182 (158 BPM)
- Black & Yellow – Wiz Khalifa (164 BPM)
Ready to get started? Think about your workout and when you need those “power songs” so you can build a playlist that fits you best! *Side note: One or two of these songs might not be appropriate for younger audience, so please do your own lyric research before playing them during family road trips! ; )