40 Upbeat Songs to Make Your Workout Fly By


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/12/2013 6:00 AM   :  218 comments   :  774,727 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 5-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 5-minute 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.com.

Aerosmith – Sweet Emotion (5:10)
Angels & Airwaves – The Adventure (5:12)
Audio Bullys –Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) (5:48)
Beastie Boys –Body Movin' (Fatboy Slim Remix) (5:32)
Benassi Bros – Feel Alive (4:49)
Coldplay – Clocks (5:09)
Dave Matthews Band –Drive In Drive Out (5:54)
Dave Matthews Band – Tripping Billies (5:00)
DJ Sammy –Boys of Summer (4:55)
Fatboy Slim – Praise You (5:23)
Fatboy Slim – Wonderful Night (4:46)
Faze Action – Samba (5:55)
Flock of Seagulls – I Ran (5:07)
Global Deejays – What a Feeling (Progressive Follow Up Mix) (5:28)
Jefferson Starship – We Built This City on Rock & Roll (4:58)
John Mayer – 3x5 (4:50)
Kanye West – Stronger (5:11)
Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (5:20)
Lo Fidelity Allstars – Battleflag (5:36)
Lynard Skynard – Sweet Home Alabama (5:00)
Madonna – Get Together (5:31)
Madonna – Ray of Light (5:20)
Michael Jackson – Thriller (5:12)
Miranda –Vamos a la Playa (Ibiza club mix) (5:09)
My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade (5:09)
New Radicals – You Get What You Give (5:02)
New Radicals – Mother We Just Can't Get Enough (5:45)
Oasis – The Shock of the Lightning (5:10)
Outkast – Bombs Over Baghdad (5:06)
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dani California (4:40)
Rusted Root – Ecstasy (5:02)
Silversun Pickups – Lazy Eye (5:54)
Sonique –Feels So Good (5:25)
The All-American Rejects – The Last Song (5:00)
The Jacksons –Shake Your Body Down to the Ground (5:19)
The Killers – All These Things That I've Done (5:02)
The Music – Take the Long Road and Walk It (4:53)
The Verve – Bitter Sweet Symphony (5:59)
U2 – Walk On (4:58)
Vinylshakerz – One Night in Bangkok XXL Mix (5:22)

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

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  • 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
  • 126
    Great topic!

    I think the beastie boys probably have some of the best songs to get moving to--especially "Body Movin", and along the same lines is Moby's "Body Rock". For motivation I love "Walk Unafraid" by REM, and I cannot stay in a bad mood if I flip on any Cab Calloway, which is also music that just BEGS for you to move.

    My husband listens to metal bands like Pelican and Red Sparowes, which have really long songs but are very melodic and heavy, not at all what you'd think of when you hear the term "metal", but I guess everything's changing... :)

    - 4/16/2009   10:54:56 PM
  • 125
    I have to have music to walk to. I have found that dance/techno/club music is the best. The beat is usually fast and upbeat so I feel like moving. My daughter listened to some of my music on my MP3 player phone and exclaimed, "How can you not run with that music!" I have a a CD called "100 A State of Trance Tunes" that I use and I have also gotten some music from beatport.com. I definitely walk slower when I am not listening to my music... - 4/16/2009   7:37:12 PM
  • 124
    Ray of Light is already on my play list. Thanks for the tunes. I've found that if I listen to a rock station or an 80s music station the songs are about 4 min. long and it only takes 8 to do a 30 (32) minute workout. I know once I hit the 4th song I am halfway there! I have to have music to move! - 4/16/2009   7:16:45 PM
  • 123
    I have several mixes of livley exercise music, I do so much more when I listen to music. I do ride my bike to the tv now and again but movies like Mamma Mia or cranking up the stereo works better. I think I have a dancers mentality as I love to move to the music. - 4/16/2009   6:44:30 PM
  • 122
    Ohhh, TV works so much better for me...getting lost in a story is easier. But, I do have a workout mix with some of these artists, just different songs. Like Fatboy Slim's "Ya Mamma," or Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like A Lady," or Michael Jackson's "Beat It." - 4/16/2009   4:15:56 PM
  • 121
    I have to mix things up...one day short songs, one day long songs, one day TV, one day an audiobook. I love to try different stuff and keep it from getting monotonous, so thanks for giving me some new ideas! Will definitely be downloading some of these! - 4/16/2009   3:34:43 PM
  • 120
    Sweet Home Alabama is the only one I would put on my play list - these are not my style music and I haven't heard of many of the artists!

    Personally I put my MP3 player on shuffle when I'm walking and listen to country, big band, hair bands, etc. I certainly don't get bored! - 4/16/2009   3:26:47 PM
  • 119
    Awesome playlist! I would add in some ZZ Top, but I'm not sure of the time on their songs. Still, great idea! - 4/16/2009   3:24:21 PM

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