A good workout means more than just going through the motions. To see the optimal benefits, you have to really want it. And getting in that mind frame can be difficult for any number of reasons.
Staying motivated is the key to success. And it's also a challenge for many of us.
Fortunately, there's a solution. Music.
Music has long been a part of workout culture, and the existing research seems to support its value as a motivational tool.
We all work out different ways, especially in the time of COVID. But whether you're looking for treadmill music, socially-distant jogging music, or just something that will inspire you to get up and move, the following tracks will have you covered.
And one caveat: there are certain artists out there who could easily fill up this list all on their own. So to keep things interesting, entries are limited to one per artist. That being said, let's start things off with...
Style — Taylor Swift
Despite some ups and downs over her decade-spanning career, Taylor Swift has firmly established herself as a pop-icon who's here to stay. But even if we're only counting studio albums, that still leaves and impressive library for us to pick from?
So why Style?
Because it's simply the best of her entire career (as of this writing). At least, for the purposes of this list.
With a steady beat for your feet to match and an engrossing romantic narrative that can take you away from the mundane reality of running on a treadmill, Style wins out hands-down.
No Love — Death Grips
Look, as big a star as she is, Taylor Swift just isn't for everyone. So this song goes out to those of you who want something with a little more grit.
Death Grips have long been a favorite among the avante garde hip-hop scene, and the title track from their seminal album No Love, Deep Web is among their finest efforts. Raw, rough, and uncompromising, it's the perfect track to get your blood flowing.
Rebel Rebel — David Bowie
This one goes out to the fans of the classics.
When you think of workout bops, you might not immediately think of the artsy glam rocker. But Rebel Rebel absolutely goes off, and for our money is one of the best workout jams out there.
From the sharp guitars to defiant lyrics, it's just the thing to give you your second wind when you're getting ready to call it quits.
Don't Stop Me Now — Queen
Another great British rock act following out previous entry, sure. But it's an entry that definitely deserves to make the list.
It starts out somewhat mellow, but the sheer energy that this song imparts quickly becomes apparent. And once it kicks into gear, you'll find it harder to stop running than it would be to keep going.
After all, it's Freddie Mercury asking you not to stop him now. Are you going to rebuff him? We didn't think so.
Green Light — Lorde
Alright, after two throwback tracks we should probably include something (relatively) current.
Though Green Light starts with soft, melodramatic undertones, it quickly blossoms into something more vibrant. At its core, this a song about moving on, something which we have all had to do at different points in our life. And it's a struggle more often than it isn't.
The core emotions translate well into wanting to keep pressing forward even though your own body is resisting you. But when that chorus kicks in, you'll definitely be seeing that green light telling you to keep pressing forward.
Cheap Thrills — Sia
This one is a bit more light and bubbly then our last entry. Originally written for Rihanna (it kinda shows), Cheap Thrills is all about finding joy, even when your material reality would make that seem impossible.
Cheap Thrills was probably never going to win any Grammys or change the world, sure. But for a workout song, its steady beat, and the theme of not letting the world get in your way of enjoying it can be the jolt of inspiration that you need to press just a little harder.
Rudie Can't Fail — The Clash
The Clash is one of the all-time great punk acts, arguably one of the all-time great rock bands in general. And thanks to their inclusion in Stranger Things, a whole new generation got to be exposed to their work.
ALways a little more musically accomplished and sophisticated than their punk rock peers, The Clash were one of the few big crossover acts from the movement. ANd being more accessible, they have quite a few tracks that could make it onto your workout playlist.
But for our money, we've got got to go with Rudie Can't Fail. It's just one solid bit of funk-pop that will have you bobbing your head and putting one foot in front of the other.
Revv Me Up — Jasper McVain
Call it a gag entry or chalk it up to personal bias if you will, but this writer thinks Revv Me Up is an excellent workout tune.
An original song featured in season one, episode eight of the Adult Swim show The Venture Brothers, this track accompanies a training montage that rivals any of the classics. And given the recent news that the long-running fan-favorite show had been unceremoniously canceled, it felt appropriate to pay some form of homage to it.
That and this song lives up to its name in that it will most definitely rev you up.
The Best Treadmill Music is Anything That Gets Your Motor Running
Though we're living in unpredictable times, we're all still doing our best to stay fit and do so safely.
But what that means for you may be different. If you're looking for treadmill music specifically because your gym has reopened, don't forget to follow best practices to protect yourself and those around you.
And if you're playing it safe and trying to stay in shape form home, don't worry. Instead of fretting about how to even begin, check out our guide on how to get started working out form home.