Gimme a beat!

By • Published: April 30th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Gimme a beat!

Your heart races as you hear the beat. Soon, your feet follow suit. You walk. You sprint. You keep time as the music pulses in your ears.

Apparently, Gloria Estefan’s famous song was right: The rhythm is going to get you… to exercise.

What you choose to put, or not put, on your workout playlist is subjective. One man’s “U Can’t Touch This,” is another’s “Stayin’ Alive.” But when it comes to exercise, not all songs are created equal.

To maximize your get-up-and-go, the songs you choose need to fall within a certain tempo range. A Brunel [brew-NELL] University sports psychologist says songs clocking in at one-hundred-and-twenty to one-hundred-and-forty beats per minute are surefire workout boosters. Most dance music falls in this range.

So, you can “Push It” with Salt-N-Pepa or take Snoop Dogg’s advice and “Drop It Like It’s Hot.”

Also, experts say the more intense you want your workout, the more intense your songs should be. Some researchers say inspirational tunes help, too. Think “Eye of the Tiger.” After all, Rocky was a champion. And to keep your workout going, you may want to cut the pauses between songs.

But tempo isn’t all that counts. A workout-worthy song also needs a steady beat you can base your movements on.

And when it’s time to calm down? Put on some soft jams. A Case Western Reserve University study shows listening to soft music slows heart rates and breathing.

Maybe Gloria Estefan has a song for that too.