Okay, I’m not just making this up; music does help exercise. In an article at LiveScience.com called “Music Benefits Exercise, Studies Show,” it says:
Picking the right music can have several benefits. Syncing beats per minute with an exercise pace increases your efficiency. In a recent study, subjects who cycled in time to music found that they required 7 percent less oxygen to do the same work when compared to music playing in the background. Music can also help block out the little voice in your brain telling you its time to quit. Research shows that this dissociation effect results in a 10 percent reduction in perceived effort during treadmill running at a moderate intensity.
As I was babbling on to my coach about how I was going to figure out from the Wikis for each song in my exercise mix exactly what the magic ingredient was that made the music work (which is described in the LiveScience article above), he spake, saying “Why don’t you just use Pandora?” If you’re not familiar with Pandora, check it out. I first heard about it on NPR, when they described the music genome project, the parent of Pandora. It analyzes different elements of music you enter to help you find more music like it.
I created a new “Exercise Channel” and fed it my favorite exercise songs. Pandora has found me some great stuff, but overall is a little hit or miss, so I’ve also gone through some old albums and found more stuff there, too. (However, the more I use it and “thumbs up” songs, the better it gets at finding new stuff.) And added some I missed the first time around on the albums I’d looked at. The following is a list of findings from Pandora.
- Huey Lewis and the News: Heart and Soul, Jacob’s Ladder
- Celine Dion: (shockingly enough, she has some stuff that works for exercise) Eyes on Me, Shadow of Love
- Soft Cell: Tainted Love
- Loverboy: Working for the Weekend
- Journey: Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), Anyway You Want it
- Def Leppard: Animal
- ColdPlay: Clocks
- Aerosmith: Walk this Way
- Scorpions: No One Like You
- Styx: Fooling Yourself
- Van Halen: Top of the World
- Kiss: Rock and Roll All Night
- Bryan Adams: Summer of ’69
- Maritimes: For Science Fiction
- Lynyrd Skynyrd: Sweet Home, Alabama
- Destiny’s Child: Say My Name
- Corey Hart: Sunglasses at Night
- Michelle Branch: Thousand Miles
- Rick Springfield: Jessie’s Girl
- The Kinks: My Sharona
- Billy Idol: White Wedding
- Madonna: Express Yourself
CAVEAT (aka “Sit up and pay attention!” or “Warning”): I exercise in my own house and use a treadmill. If you are walking or running on the street, it’s risky to use iPods or iTouch or whatever gizmo to blast music into your ears. First, you can’t hear cars coming and are more likely to end up in a pedestrian-car collision, and you’re likely to lose that battle. Second, you can’t hear people coming up on you. There was a serial rapist in Austin who targeted girls running with earbuds because they wouldn’t know he was there until it was too late. Stay alert to what’s around you if you’re not in an enclosed, safe environment.