Pick the right workout music

A right number can turn your otherwise dull workout into the most fun and anticipated time of the day. Whether it's cycling, intense cardio routines or heavy lifting, here's how you can make your exercise experience more pleasurable by just pressing 'play'.

Your body is trying to tell your brain that the seven km run you're only halfway through is too hard and you can't go farther but it's too busy paying attention to your complaints. Your brain engrossed in listening to Madonna's killer track 'You push me to go the extra mile, you push me when it's difficult to smile' is hardly attentive to the hints given by your body. That's the power of music!

Many of us listen to music when we work out but do we try to know why the right kind of music gets our pulse pounding? Music has the power to give you a surge of energy during the workout session making you able to physically push yourself beyond your limits. It not only helps optimise your workout but also helps you stay fresh and energised.

You may have noticed this. If you workout to songs you love, you feel motivated and tend to enjoy your workouts. "Music helps trick your mind so that you are not concentrating on your energy or exertion level but just enjoying the music," says fitness expert Samir Purohit. It promotes a positive mood and deflects negative thoughts about working out. A recent study says that appropriately-paced music can easily boost your stamina and prevent boredom when doing workouts with repetitive movements.

Music goes through the brain first which controls how your body reacts to the sounds. "Music is in charge of your movement and regulates heart rate and breathing patterns," says Purohit.

Matching your music to the tempo of your movements helps reduce the amount of oxygen required by your body, allowing you to work out harder and derive better results. Moreover, slower paced music can calm you down and help provide greater focus, which is helpful for activities with slower, more controlled movements, such as classical yoga.

Perfect your playlist
Imagine working out on music that is offbeat and not apt for your exercise regime. It will make your workout seem difficult and boring. "Your workout playlist should fit the context of the exercise you're doing. What you listen to while biking may be different from what you would want to listen to while lifting weights," says Purohit. More than the artist, the thing that affects your workout the most is the tempo. Why? It is the most important factor in enhancing workout performance because it provides timing and co-ordination for your movements. Music in the 120 to 140 beats-per-minute (BPM) range is best for most aerobic exercises because it most closely matches the average person's heart rate.

For low-intensity exercises such as walking, yoga, a warm-up/cool-down routine or jogging, listen to music that falls in the BPM range of 90 to 115; the best genres are alternative, soft rock, indie rock and ambient music. As you move from low to moderate intensity (exercises like weight lifting, group exercise classes and cardio machines), your heart rate increases up to 115-135 BPM. So alter your music selection to corelate with your heart rate. For naturally repetitive exercises such as weight training or cardio machine workouts, pair with music that has a repetitive rhythm. When doing high-intensity exercises like cycling, running, intense cardio routines and heavy lifting, opt for music with a BPM of 135 or higher to get your blood pumping and stay focused. For such challenging workouts, your best choice would be hard rock, techno or more upbeat pop music.

Song: "Poker face" by Lady Gaga
BPM: 119
Activity: Weight Training

Song: "Dance wiv me" by Dizzee Rascal
BPM: 114
Activity: Walking fast

Song: "Run it" by Chris Brown
BPM: 101
Activity: Jogging slowly

Song: "Pump it up" by Danzel
BPM: 128
Activity: Weight training

Song: "Shake it" by Metro Station
BPM: 150
Activity: Running

Song: "Start without you" by Alexandra Burke
BPM: 90
Activity: Strolling

Song: "Warriors Dance"by The Prodigy
BPM: 150
Activity: Running

Song: "Let's hear it for the boy" by Deniece Williams
BPM: 129
Activity: Weight training

Song: "Hard To Beat" by Hard-Fi
BPM: 127
Activity: Running at moderate pace

Song: "When love takes over" by David Guetta
BPM: 130
Activity: Power walking

Song: "Domino" by Jessie J
BPM: 127
Activity: Cardio workout

Song: "Barbra Streisand" by Duck Sauce
BPM: 128
Activity: Weight training

Song: "Pumped up kicks" by Foster The People
BPM: 128
Activity: Group aerobic classes

Song: "Kyoto" by Skrillex
BPM: 87
Activity: Warm-up

Song: "Rolling in the deep" by Adele
BPM: 105
Activity: Jogging

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