When it comes to exercising, sometimes the music selections are just as important as the physical activity. I am a self-professed music junkie, so I may be biased. But nothing ruins a workout quite like an iPod dying, a CD skipping, or just plain bad music.
Music Helps with Tempo and Motivation
In the pursuit of my Exercise Science degree, one of my college courses dealt with exercise leadership. We learned how to plan a group fitness class and manage all the dynamics that went into it, music included. We learned what tempos are best for warm-ups, which beats are motivating for the bulk of the exercise, and which styles of songs are conducive for cool-down periods.
Now, after having hands-on experience teaching group fitness in a corporate fitness center, I see how important music choices truly are. Specifically in cycling classes, instructors often lead drills to the beat of the song. Instructors will say phrases like, “One pedal per beat,” as a way of keeping cyclists at the right tempo. When it comes time for a steep hill climb or a round of sprints, nothing can be as powerful as hearing the pulsing beat of your favorite song.
Resources for Making Playlists Easily
With that said, here are a few resources, mostly online, that make music playlists easy. You can use these in corporate fitness programs as well as for your own workouts.
- Music For Cycling: This website includes playlists for cycling, and also actual bike workouts to go along with them. Some of the playlists are themed, such as “Around the World” or “Halloween Playlist,” making for fun, easy ways to motivate your corporate fitness members.
- WorkoutMusic.com: Here you can purchase mp3 files of full albums geared toward certain styles of workouts—for example, running or strength training. You can download shorter albums that are great for a quick abs class, or longer playlists for extended activities like running.
- Magazine playlists (Fitness and Shape): Shape magazine offers a monthly 30-minute playlist. The writer suggests a mix of newer pop songs as well as classic sing-alongs. Fitness magazine publishes a yearly feature in January, listing the best music for cycling, running, walking, weight training, and yoga.
- iTunes: The iTunes music store can also be a good resource for ideas. You can search for a certain song, and often there will be a cardio remix version that makes the song more upbeat than the original. iTunes also suggests Perfect Playlists: Workout, which you can preview and download all of its songs for $9.99.
14 Days to Wellness: The Easy, Effective, and Fun Way to Optimum Health by Donald B. Ardell
This book is one of the best fitness books on the market. Although it was released in 1999, it remains timely because it does not promote time-sensitive trends, refrains from endorsing brand names, and is simple. The intent is for the reader to cover one chapter per day, for 14 days. By the end, readers will understand the need for personal wellness and have the tools to begin a plan.
Ardell tackles one health topic at a time, giving the reader an entire day to digest that particular concept. The book offers a multidimensional approach to wellness; and, as health professionals in a corporate wellness center, we’ve learned that multidimensional viewpoints is the only successful route. It covers topics such as
- Creating a healthy self-image
- Assuming responsibility for your own well-being
- Eating for performance and enjoyment
- Being physically active
- Learning your vital signs
My favorite aspect of this book is that Ardell steers clear of deep scientific processes and terms, while still driving home the most important components of health. The subtitle is accurate when it claims to be both effective and easy. This book sheds new light on topics for health professionals, but also offers a great starting ground for the average person wanting to start a personal wellness plan.
Consider adding 14 Days to Wellness to a worksite wellness program library. You can pick up used copies for a reasonable price on Amazon.com.