Habits of Fit People: Create a Workout Playlist

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You want to be a fit person, right? That's why I'm sharing my own habits for keeping fit and staying healthy in the ongoing Habits of Fit People series.

Here's one that works for me: Create a workout playlist. So why does something like this matter?

Anyone who has ever watched a great movie knows that the soundtrack really sets the mood and taps into your emotions. Put simply, music is powerful. It can inspire, energize, or even relax you. So having the right music for your workouts can go a long way in keeping you excited and motivated to not only get out the door, but also to work hard during your exercise session. Researchers agree. One recent study found that exercisers who listened to music during their workouts pushed themselves harder than those who didn't listen to music. And researchers from Brunel University in England found that songs with tempos between 120 and 140 beats per minute, which coincides with most dance and rock songs, are best for exercising.

But even if we didn't have researchers telling us that music can improve your workouts, I think that we'd hardly argue. Who hasn't experienced a rush of energy and momentum when listening to a great song? When you're exercising, your heart rate is elevated and you're moving at a quicker pace or flowing from one exercise to the next. So the soundtrack you listen to can help you enter "the zone," focusing on your pace, intensity, and body's signals better than if you were absorbed in a rerun of "Friends" while on the elliptical trainer.

Music is essential to my workouts. I pack my iPod with my favorite get-up-and-go tunes, the ones that I can't help but move to. And I'm always adding to it. I keep a pen and small piece of paper with me most of the time, so that when I hear a song on the radio, during a TV commercial, or even during a fitness class, I can jot down some of the lyrics and look it up.

Often I create my own workout playlists—I have about over 40 of them and counting! Rather than just let my mp3 player shuffle aimlessly through all the songs in my collection, I create playlists for specific activities like running, Spinning, Pilates, strength training and even stretching. Regularly adding new songs to my playlists is a simple and inexpensive way to keep my workouts fresh and interesting.

Do you have a hard time exercising when you don't have the right music?