The best songs to listen to if you want to run – according to science

EXCLUSIVE: These are the 21 best songs to listen to if you want to run further – according to science

  • The playlist can motivate fitness buffs who run, cycle, row, or climb stairs
  • The songs were selected based on their upbeat tempos of 120 to 135 BPM
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Whether you’re training for a marathon or can barely make it off the couch and out the door for a jog, fitness experts have compiled a science-backed playlist to boost motivation and get you running further.

The 21-song Spotify playlist is full of energetic tunes designed to help you get the most out of your cardio workout, whether you run, cycle, row or climb stairs to get your heart rate up.

Researchers at Total Shape made the one-hour playlist based on Spotify’s global charts from the summer. 

The featured tracks were selected in part due to their strong and uninterrupted beats, ranging from 120 to 135 beats per minute, a rate believed to be the ideal tempo for cardio workouts.

The songs span genres from electronic dance music, or EDM, to reggaeton, R&B and K-pop. They include hits from artists such as Calvin Harris, Beyonce and Jung Kook.

Running on the treadmill is a popular cardio activity to do at the gym. However, those who are not fans of the treadmill can also do things such as stair climbing, cycling, and rowing

A spokesperson for Total Shape said: ‘Listening to music lowers our cortisol levels, the stress hormone, and increases our dopamine levels, the happiness hormone, especially when we like what we are hearing. 

‘Global charts are a good place to start to find new songs with high chances of being liked.’

No matter the intensity of your workout, the Spotify playlist is sure to motivate you more than a slow song to run faster, cycle further, row harder and climb higher

‘You would not be making the most out of your gym session if you run on a treadmill while listening to ballads’ said the Total Shape spokesperson.

They explained: ‘This is where the 120-135 BPM factor comes in, which reflects the relatively fast rhythm of a song and helps you to maintain a constant, medium-paced beat, if that is what you are after.’ 

Best Songs to Listen to While You Work Out

  • Los del Espacio 
  • Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 53
  • One Kiss
  • El Merengue 
  • La Bachata
  • Lay Low
  • Toca o Trompete 
  • Seven
  • America Has a Problem
  • Rush
  • Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 56
  • Queencard
  • Baby Hello
  • Montagem – PR Funk
  • Despechá
  • Tá Ok
  • Bzrp Music Sessions, Vol. 55
  • New Jeans
  • ETA
  • Automotivo Bibi Fogosa
  • S91 

The spokesperson continued: ‘We also looked at how danceable, energetic and stable the songs are so that they are upbeat enough and do not have disruptive breaks to distract you.

‘We were surprised to find that DJ Science, as we called the algorithm, produced a flawless playlist that serves its intended purpose – supporting your cardio workout perfectly.’ 

It is factors like these that make people work out harder without even realizing it. 

Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London said in 2012 that one could think of exercise music as ‘a type of legal performance-enhancing drug.’

Karageorghis explained: ‘Given that exercise is often tiresome, boring and arduous, anything that relieves those negative feelings would be welcome.’

The study compiling the best songs to workout to was commissioned by Total Shape – a leading online resource for fitness, diet, supplements and healthy lifestyle advice. 

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