How to Use Powerful Playlists for Exercise Motivation


Using Music to Change Your MoodHow to use playlists for exercise motivation

Creating a new music playlist can be great exercise motivator, which is something I teach in my Making Fitness Fun lecture here at Green Mountain.

Music is so powerful; it can transcend time – for example, every time I hear the Beatles, I am transported back to being 6 years old, sitting on the front seat of my mother’s Vega (no seat belt, of course, back in the 70’s) hearing her sing off-key to “Here Comes the Sun”.

Music can change your mood; I play relaxing music to get my kids to settle down at night (Pachelbel’s “Cannon”), or if I’m feeling sad I’ll play an uplifting tune to start my day (“I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash).

Health professionals will even use sound therapy with their clients to lower stress, lower blood pressure and even manage pain.

All-Star Workout Playlists

One of the more frequent questions I get asked here is to share my workout playlists.

I like to use music to motivate my students by incorporating a little bit of fun and energy as well as set the tone of the class.

Although I download all my strength training music from iTunes, I get my cardio music from Here you can create your own mix of music and even adjust the pitch so that each song has the same beat. This is great for a step or an aerobics class where the beat needs to be consistent.

I am also often inspired when drinking my Sunday morning coffee and listening to the Pandora Spa Channel for stretching and yoga music. Occasionally, I will ask my yoga students if they have any musical requests to enlighten me to new music as well as to connect me with their musical tastes.

Most of my playlists, however, have a some sort of special meaning to me, whether it’s that Journey Cover Band I saw with my best friend at that really cool club (“Don’t Stop Believing”) or the time my boyfriend and I broke up (think “All the Single Ladies” by Beyonce).

I also like to throw in a little Johnny Cash which reminds me of the time my mother, grandmother and I danced together at the Clam Bake at Old Orchard Beach (“Folsom Prison Blues”).  I also like to incorporate music with powerful and inspiring messages (“Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson and “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors).

Here are a couple of suggestions to add to your playlist:

For an energizing cardio mix, try:

“Demons” by Imagine Dragons

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams

“Hey Brother” by Avicii

“Pompeii” by Bastille

“Timber” by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha

“Story of My Life” by One Direction

“Roar” by Katie Perry

One of my favorite strength playlists:

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars

“Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift

“Budapest” by George Ezra

“Bills” by LunchMoney Lewis

“I Bet My Life” by Imagine Dragons

“Riptide” by Vance Joy

“Heartbeat Song” by Kelly Clarkson

For my latest relaxing yoga mix, try:

“Gate Gate” by Deva Premal

“Om Mani Padme Hum” by Deva Premal

“Ong So Hung” by The Guru Singh Experience

“Speaking of Source” by Premasoul

I invite you to notice the next time a song catches your attention  and and add it to your playlist mix for the next time you exercise to keep your inspiration and motivation alive!

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About the Author

Lori Wright

Lori spent her teens and twenties with self-loathing and body issues, but changed her life after discovering yoga. She feels that yoga helped her become a better mother, lover and human being. She became less judgmental against herself and others. Finding ways to bring humor and self-compassion into movement activities, Lori’s mission is to help others fall in love with fitness while taking care of the body they have today. Lori uses mindfulness tools such as meditation and positive affirmations as well as running to de-stress to support her in raising her two young daughters. Lori has recently received her certification in Curvy Yoga, a certification designed to encourage and support women of all sizes and shapes to reap the wonderful benefits of Yoga. She utilizes this certification to instruct Curvy Yoga classes at Green Mountain At Fox Run.

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