40 Upbeat Songs to Make Your Workout Fly By


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  226 comments   :  950,057 Views

I think most exercisers agree that listening to some great music goes a long way when you're working out. It helps increase your energy and motivates you to work harder. In many ways, it even distracts you from the discomfort of exercise so that you'll keep going even when it's tough.

However, not just any music will do. We all have our own tastes and preferences for what we like to listen to when we exercise: pop, dance, techno, rock, metal, hip hop (Coach Jen's favorite), or all of the above. Sometimes, it's not the genre that matters; it's the pace (or beat). Others like inspirational lyrics. Personally, I think the beat matters. It has to match the pace of my workout—something I can't listen to and sit still. At the very least, I want to know (or be familiar with) the song that's playing. When I go to Spinning class, for example, and I encounter music that's too slow for the tempo of the workout, or too obscure for me to "escape" by singing along with the song in my head, I am not a happy exerciser.

Recently, I've been thinking about song length. Most radio hits are around 3 minutes long—you'd have to listen to 10 songs to get through a 30-minute workout—make that 20 for a full hour! I don't know about you, but my mind perceives that as a long time. So I've started to incorporate some longer songs into my playlists. Think of it this way: Would you rather know you have to exercise through 20 songs or 12? I pick 12. So I've gathered some of my favorite 4- to 6-minute workout songs to share with you! By selecting any 6-12 of them, you'll have a 30-60 minute workout playlist that's upbeat and motivating. As each song passes, you'll know you've hit a milestone in your workout. Stop watching the clock and start working out with these songs! 

Click on each link to listen to a preview (or purchase the mp3) at Amazon or iTunes.

Aerosmith, Sweet Emotion (5:10) –  Amazon  iTunes 
Angels & Airwaves, The Adventure (5:12)  – Amazon  iTunes 
Audio Bullys, Shot You Down (6:33) – Amazon  iTunes 
Beastie Boys, Body Movin' (Fatboy Slim Remix) (4:08) – Amazon  iTunes 
Benassi Bros, Feel Alive (4:48) – Amazon  iTunes 
Coldplay, Clocks (5:07) – Amazon  iTunes 
Dave Matthews Band, Drive In Drive Out (5:54) – Amazon  iTunes 
Dave Matthews Band, Tripping Billies (5:00) – Amazon  iTunes
DJ Sammy, Boys of Summer (4:55) – Amazon  iTunes
Fatboy Slim, Praise You (5:23) – Amazon  iTunes
Fatboy Slim, Wonderful Night, (4:46) – Amazon  iTunes
Faze Action, Samba (5:58) – Amazon  iTunes
Flock of Seagulls, I Ran (5:08) – Amazon  iTunes
Global Deejays, What a Feeling (Progressive Follow Up Mix) (5:31) – Amazon  iTunes
Jefferson Starship, We Built This City (4:54) – Amazon  iTunes
John Mayer, 3x5 (4:50), – Amazon  iTunes
Kanye West, Stronger (5:11) – Amazon  iTunes
Lauryn Hill,  Doo Wop (5:20) – Amazon  iTunes
Lo Fidelity Allstars, Battleflag (5:40) – Amazon  iTunes
Lynard Skynard, Sweet Home Alabama (4:43) – Amazon  iTunes
Madonna, Get Together (5:14) – Amazon  iTunes
Madonna, Ray of Light (5:20) – Amazon  iTunes
Michael Jackson, Thriller (5:57) – Amazon  iTunes
Miranda, Vamos a la Playa (6:09) – Amazon  iTunes
My Chemical Romance, Welcome to the Black Parade (5:11) – Amazon  iTunes
New Radicals, You Get What You Give (5:00) – Amazon  iTunes
New Radicals, Mother We Just Can't Get Enough (5:48) – Amazon  iTunes
Oasis, The Shock of the Lightening (5:09) – Amazon  iTunes
Outkast, Bombs Over Baghdad (5:04) – Amazon  iTunes
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dani California (4:42) – Amazon  iTunes
Rusted Root, Ecstacy (5:02) – Amazon  iTunes
Silversun Pickups, Lazy Eye (5:54) – Amazon  iTunes
Sonique, Feels So Good (4:44) – Amazon  iTunes
The All-American Rejects, The Last Song (5:00) – Amazon  iTunes
The Jacksons, Shake Your Body Down to the Ground (3:44) – Amazon  iTunes
The Killers, All These Things That I've Done (5:01) – Amazon  iTunes
The Music, Take the Long Road and Walk It (4:53) – Amazon  iTunes
The Verve, Bitter Sweet Symphony (5:58) – Amazon  iTunes
U2, Walk On (4:56) – Amazon  iTunes
Vinylshakerz, One Night in Bangkok XXL Mix (5:22) – Amazon  iTunes

Do you prefer exercising to short songs or long ones? Which songs above would you add to your own playlist?

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  • 176
    I love my cheesy pop when I'm exercising. It's all designed to get tweens up and dancing, plus they have eternally cheerful messages. Shamefully I dig my Hannah Montanna/Miley Cyrus, and Demi Levato best.

    Also great bands Flogging Molly (Celtic Rock) and Bond (instrumental Rock). All American Rejects, Bowling for Soup, and 80s Dance hits all get me up and moving.

    - 8/6/2009   12:42:33 PM
  • 175
    I love the genius feature on itunes. It takes a song you like & matches songs to it. It's a great feature. - 7/30/2009   2:15:09 PM
    I LOVE music.... It can make or break a workout... Check out some of Jason and deMarco's remixes. Great beats and great messages. Especially "This is Love" and "It's Okay". They have tons of original fabulous songs (you can find them on youtube, amazon, or itunes). Also, if you like their stuff, Alan Lett has some great upbeat music as well. - 7/4/2009   11:34:07 PM
  • 173
    Fabulous list!!! I love consistently adding new songs to my running playlist and I will check out the ones you mentioned above that I didn't recognize. I feel so good when I'm running to a new song. Actually that's one of the first things I think when I hear a new song on the radio, "will this motivate me when I run?" I love my running playlist. Thanks for this post!!! - 6/27/2009   5:24:11 PM
  • 172
    I have a little bit of everything to choose from - danceable beats are a must I'm a big hip hop fan! Try ‘world’ music on itunes – sample some reggaeton or bhangra - you don’t need to know the words just move to the beat! - 6/23/2009   10:20:03 AM
  • 171
    Love Michael Jackson's BEAT IT. - 6/22/2009   1:33:53 AM
    Thank you for posting this! Even though not every single song on this list made it to my iPod, it reminded me of a few good ones that I need to add, and has "sparked" an ongoing discussion between myself and a few of my friends - even ones who aren't yet Spark Members. We blog about our current workout tunes on MySpace, Facebook and LiveJournal, recommending songs to each other and helping stay motivated. And just think... it all started from reading this post! - 6/14/2009   5:02:46 PM
  • 169
    they forgot the following songs
    the kill-30seconds to mars
    circus-brittany spears
    roxann -mulan rouge soundtrack
    cry -godley and cream - 6/8/2009   8:28:26 PM
  • 168
    I change up my playlists often to keep myself from getting in a rut or bored. There is so much music out there! I like a little bit of everything! I really welcome the opportunity to descover new sounds and re-acquaint myself with older ones :) - 6/8/2009   1:24:54 PM
    great list! - 6/7/2009   10:27:25 AM
    Native American Powwow Drum Music! The beat varies from 2 step to men's fancy or women's fancy shawl. Throw in some sneak up music and you have the perfect round-up for exercise. - 6/7/2009   10:25:06 AM
  • SYIETA@0
    my favorite is Lyuryn Hill, and before i knew it on the treadmill and even when i walked, listening to music that i liked made time go faster. and it didn't feel so much like exercise. - 6/6/2009   5:16:28 PM
  • 164
    This is a cool little mix of music, Nicole! Thanks for this note about music. I know it feels like a drag when you know how long your playlist is. So stocking up on 5-minute or even 12-inch versions of rare funk finds (YES!) is great idea! So thank you! Of course, I would recommend to anyone having the theme from "Rocky" as a staple in the mix. That's pretty long, I think. - 5/12/2009   3:12:04 AM
  • 163
    I guess I'm a bit of an anomaly. Music distracts me when I work out. I like to concentrate on the muscles I'm working on. - 5/4/2009   12:03:29 PM
  • 162
    Boy, there are some really good songs. I suggest an ipod for everybody. Some of my favorites are listed, but I didn't see Bread's "Mother Freedom" and John Cougar Mallencamp's "Hurt so Good." I like a "beaty" song too...I try to keep pace with it that way I'm getting more out of my walk.
    - 4/28/2009   4:57:06 PM
  • 161
    Closer by Neyo and Womanizer by Britney Spears push me to run hard throughout the whole song. - 4/27/2009   12:26:26 AM
  • 160
    I love music and it is easy for me to get into my work out that way.. - 4/26/2009   1:06:09 PM
  • 159
    I never leave home without my MP3 player! - 4/26/2009   9:31:11 AM
  • 158
    Firestarter by Prodigy
    Several songs by Rage against the Machine - 4/25/2009   8:49:53 PM
  • 157
    Music is a huge part of my success with consistency. I have been listening to music to increase my running pace. I listen to 160 bpm music (beats per minute). That is the perfect setting for me to reach my goal of running a 10 minute mile. Yes, I am a slow runner! - 4/24/2009   4:05:59 PM
    When I'm looking for longer songs to put into a workout, I tend to go with some 90s electronica. "Born Slippy" by Underworld (aka the song from the end of Trainspotting) is 8+ minutes long, and builds really well. For newer stuff, "Galvanize" by the Chemical Brothers and "Knights of Cydonia" from Muse (rock) also work, and clock in around 6 minutes each. - 4/22/2009   6:28:27 AM
  • 155
    I love the country music and older Rock, though Aerosmith Sweet Emotion is one of my favorites! yes, I agree, it's an age thing! - 4/21/2009   12:36:19 AM
  • 154
    I would prefer country also. Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn or Alan Jackson. I agree it must be an age thing. - 4/20/2009   7:47:30 PM
  • 153
    I'm with you Beth G. I'd rather have country. I had only heard of two songs on the whole list. It MUST be an age thing! - 4/20/2009   11:42:11 AM
  • 152
    The whole "Flashdance" CD is great ... also Obsession by Animotion GREAT - 4/20/2009   11:24:40 AM
  • MAD5037
    I love "Black Dog" by Zeppelin, "Touch the Sky" by Kanye, "Date With The Night" By Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Salty Dog" By Flogging Molly. Basically anything with a strong, fast paced beat. - 4/20/2009   11:02:40 AM
  • 150
    Not that I listen to it normally, but sometimes the oldies will get me motivated when working out, the songs don't last that long and they are generally upbeat and easy to sing to. - 4/20/2009   7:12:51 AM
  • 149
    But I don't like the rock from the 70's forward. I prefer Country. Any of that motivating? The modern stuff is hard for me. I like songs to have morse than 10 words to them, but that may just be old age creeping in.

    Beth G - 4/19/2009   10:38:51 PM
    I listen to songs from the 70's to present. I pick ones that have a great beat because slow beats don't motivate you enough. My walking DVD's get the sound turned off while I play my music at 140 bpm. - 4/19/2009   6:59:18 PM
    Great songs! For me it doesn't matter if the song is 5 minutes or 3 minutes the beat is . I have a Rhapsody subscription and that helps me. I would add to this list of great songs anything that's dancehall reggae, anything recent by Madonna, 80s songs by Prince, anything hip hop, latin/african, and 70s and 80s rock. I'm going to download these songs on this right now. - 4/19/2009   2:10:12 PM
  • 146
    My # 1 favorite for workouts is: You Build it Up---Tear it Down ,by FatBoy Slim. A song with great beats!! - 4/19/2009   11:32:20 AM
  • 145
    I find that worship music really gets me going. My husband laughs at me cuz Im the only one in the gymn wanting to sing praise songs to Jesus while pumpin iron with the big boys...Im sure being a christian has a lot to do with my music work out preferance...More so than that I just think that the lyrics are a bit more uplifting than more of my other music...For example I am a LOVER of country music but too often it isnt fast enough and the lyrics arent always my cup of tea. Too many break ups end in a work out break down... :) lol - 4/19/2009   5:10:32 AM
    You're right on with the length of a song and the beat. However, music by Third Day and 3 Doors Down, even the slower songs, set my mood and keep me motivated - something about southern rock. Also, when I need a kick, Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell" gets me back up to speed. - 4/19/2009   4:15:37 AM
  • 143
    I find watching tv makes time pass faster than music, but I'm surprised Kevin Rudolf -- Let It Rock isn't on the list. Then again it was overplayed and fairly new.. - 4/19/2009   1:02:23 AM
    Music really does help me truly get through a workout. Sometimes I'll get my butt out of bed because I know I'll be able to listen to some rockin' songs, and that gets me inspired! My favorite and most inspiring song ever is "Let it Rock" by Kevin Rudolph. It is the best pump-up song ever!
    - 4/18/2009   4:03:14 PM
  • 141
    Great idea, I'm just beginning to exercise and I think it might be a good push for myself to "Just make it through the song." - 4/18/2009   1:38:18 PM
  • 140
    Groove Is In The Heart by De-Lite always gets me movin', also Rock And Roll All Night by Kiss is awesome when you're working out...I love makin' playlists for my MP3 player..it does help when you have some music that makes you want to move! :) - 4/18/2009   10:38:43 AM
  • SHEILA46733
    I like your song choices better than the ones my 21 year old son put on my ipod. I did not know how to add songs to my ipod so I had my son to do it for me, wow what a shock that was. By the time I deleted everything I could not tolerate I ended up with about 10 songs I listen to over and over. By the way I did learn how to add my own songs. LOL - 4/17/2009   11:04:10 PM
    I must be old. Most of these songs I have never heard of. - 4/17/2009   8:35:50 PM
  • 137
    music is such a personal thing. I absolutely love hiphop and funk when I'm doing cardio. Blackeyed Peas and Destiny's Child are 2 of my faves. Fatboy Slim and Moby are awesome too. But so is Enigma - if you skip the super trance-y stuff. Anything with a good, steady, rockin' beat! Oh - and Earth, Wind and Fire! Love, love, love them! - 4/17/2009   8:12:56 PM
  • 136
    Michael Jackson "Beat It" and Britney Spears "Stronger" - 4/17/2009   8:01:39 PM
  • 135
    Weather Girls: It's Raining Men
    - 4/17/2009   4:26:31 PM
    I don't have an ipod anymore since my daughter lost it but when walking I hum Mary J's "Just Fine", and walk to the beat of it, a great song with a good tempo - 4/17/2009   3:25:11 PM
  • 133
    When ever I start my workout the first song on my playlist is Mary J. Blige - Just Fine. That song has a great beat to move to when your working out. - 4/17/2009   11:10:20 AM
  • 132
    I listen to the Album 'GO' by the Newsboys - it really gets me going and keeps me going. I also like Third Day, Casting Crown, Mercy Me. - 4/17/2009   10:32:05 AM
  • 131
    My workout playlist is gospel. The first song on the list (even though it's not gospel) is "Proud", the theme from "The Biggest Loser". I also have "I Like Me" by Kirk Franklin and Da' T.R.U.T.H., "Stronger" by Myron Butler and Levi, "I Will" by Men of Standard, and I always cool down to "Angels" by Richard Smallwood. I have 33 songs on my playlist, so I often shuffle so it's not the same music each workout, but the cool down is always the same. - 4/17/2009   9:24:40 AM
  • 130
    I'd take Jefferson Starship's We Built This City...along with a lot of older Jefferson Airplane...Plastic Fantastic Lover...live version is one of my favs.

    U2's Walk On is good, but wow...give me Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses anyday...woo how that gets me GOING!

    I love Santana and many other latin songs...even their longer ones like Soul Surrender.

    The Who "Live At Leeds" has some wonderful long, live music filled with raw power chords, bombast and Keith Moon's thunderous drums to keep me revved up.

    I have soooooo many favs...some short, some long, some with just the right beat, some with just the right words....Bruce Springsteen's Dancing In the Dark:

    Can't Start a Fire Without a SPARK! :-)

    Don Doornbos, Co-Leader of All Health Professionals & Laid Off But Staying Strong SparkTeams - 4/17/2009   4:53:09 AM
  • 129
    Greatest song as of late is the new Black Eyed Peas - Boom Boom Pow. Try not to like this song. - 4/17/2009   4:45:37 AM
    Great...that you are sharing your success for working out with others ....I discovered this years ago as long as there's music playing...and I'm on
    my feet my body continues to move....I've always practiced working out
    daily instead of three times per week...that way if for some reason I miss
    a day...I'm ahead...I find that working out daily works for me....keeps me
    motivated...if I go for 3 days per week...I'll stop....Once that happens its
    really hard to start and get motivated again. - 4/16/2009   11:56:41 PM
  • 127
    I love to dance to different music. I can't sing at all but give me a beat and I will be moving to it. - 4/16/2009   11:34:20 PM

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