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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Songs for Exercise

Best Songs for Exercise

Are you tired of listening to the same old workout playlist that just doesn’t seem to get you pumped up?

Look no further.

As a fitness enthusiast and music lover, I’ve spent countless hours searching for the ultimate playlist to power me through my workouts.

And let me tell you, the right combination of music and exercise can take your workout to the next level. But don’t just take my word for it, there’s science to back it up.

The Science Behind the Perfect Workout Soundtrack

Studies have shown that listening to music while exercising can increase endurance, improve performance, and even lower perceived exertion. This is because music has a powerful effect on the brain, releasing endorphins and distracting from pain and fatigue, making it easier to push through a tough workout.

In fact, a recent study found that listening to music with a tempo of 120-140 beats per minute can improve exercise performance by up to 15%.

The Criteria for the Best Songs for Exercise

So, what makes a song the perfect accompaniment to your next workout? It’s all about the beat. The best songs for exercise are those that have a fast tempo, with a beat that matches your heart rate and cadence.

They should be upbeat, with a positive and motivating message that inspires you to keep going. And most importantly, they should be fun, with a sound that makes you want to move and groove.

The Ultimate Playlist for Your Next Workout

Without further ado, here are some of the best songs for exercise that meet all of the above criteria…and more!

Eye of the Tiger


This classic song from the Rocky III soundtrack is a staple of workout playlists everywhere. Its driving beat and triumphant lyrics will make you feel like a champion, even on your toughest days.

Did you know that the song was actually written for another movie before it was repurposed for Rocky III? It was originally meant to be the theme song for the film Flashdance.

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Can’t Hold Us

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Ray Dalton

This high-energy hip-hop track is perfect for cardio workouts. Its fast-paced rhythm and infectious chorus will keep you moving and grooving from start to finish.

Did you know that the song’s music video was actually shot on six different continents? It features footage of people dancing and singing along to the song in locations all over the world, from New York City to New Zealand.

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Lose Yourself


This iconic rap anthem from the movie 8 Mile is a perfect workout song for anyone who needs a little extra motivation. Its intense lyrics and driving beat will push you to your limits and beyond.

Did you know that Eminem wrote the song in just one take? He was so inspired by the film’s themes of perseverance and self-discovery that he was able to channel that energy into the song’s lyrics.

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Can’t Stop

Red Hot Chili Peppers

This funky rock tune is a great choice for strength training or high-intensity interval workouts. Its catchy guitar riff and upbeat tempo will keep you energized and focused.

Did you know that the song’s lyrics were inspired by a conversation that lead singer Anthony Kiedis had with his mentor, actor and writer Harry Nilsson? Nilsson told Kiedis that he needed to “write about what you know,” and Kiedis took that advice to heart.

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Lose Control

Missy Elliott ft. Ciara & Fatman Scoop

This high-energy hip-hop track is perfect for dance workouts or any time you need to let loose and have fun. Its infectious beat and catchy chorus will get you moving and grooving in no time.

Did you know that Missy Elliott wrote the song in just 30 minutes? She was in the studio with producer Timbaland, and they were trying to come up with a hit song. The beat came first, and then Missy Elliott started freestyling the lyrics. The rest is history.

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Van Halen

This classic rock anthem is a great choice for any workout that requires a burst of energy. Its catchy keyboard riff and upbeat tempo will have you jumping and pumping your fists in the air.

Did you know that the song’s famous keyboard solo was actually played on a synthesizer? Guitarist Eddie Van Halen originally wrote the solo for his guitar, but he decided to play it on a synthesizer instead to give the song a unique sound.

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Can’t Get You Out of My Head

Kylie Minogue

This catchy pop hit is perfect for low-impact workouts like yoga or Pilates. Its dreamy synths and hypnotic vocals will help you stay focused and relaxed.

Did you know that the song’s iconic “la la la” hook was actually inspired by a song from the 1930s? Kylie Minogue and her producers heard the song “Comme ci, comme ça” by French singer Serge Gainsbourg and decided to use a similar hook in their own song.

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Lose You To Love Me

Selena Gomez

This emotional ballad is perfect for cool-downs or stretching after a tough workout. Its raw lyrics and stripped-down instrumentation will help you unwind and reflect.

Did you know that Selena Gomez wrote the song about her own experiences with heartbreak and self-discovery? She wrote the song shortly after breaking up with her ex-boyfriend, Justin Bieber, and it became a cathartic way for her to process her emotions.

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The Middle

Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey

This upbeat pop song is perfect for any workout that requires a little extra motivation. Its catchy chorus and positive message will help you power through even the toughest challenges.

Did you know that the song was actually written by accident? Zedd and his collaborators were working on a different song when they stumbled upon the melody and lyrics for The Middle. They decided to scrap their original song and focus on “The Middle” instead.

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Shake It Off

Taylor Swift

This upbeat pop hit is perfect for any workout that requires a little bit of fun. Its catchy chorus and infectious beat will have you shaking off any negative energy and feeling great.

Did you know that the song was inspired by a quote from the legendary Maya Angelou? Taylor Swift read an interview with Angelou where she said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Swift took that message to heart and wrote “Shake It Off” as a way to inspire people to let go of negativity and focus on feeling good.

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Push It


This classic hip-hop track is perfect for any workout that requires a little bit of attitude. Its iconic beat and provocative lyrics will have you feeling like a boss. Did you know that the song was actually banned by the FCC when it was first released?

The lyrics were considered too explicit for radio, and the music video was also controversial for its suggestive imagery. Despite the controversy, the song became a huge hit and helped to establish Salt-N-Pepa as one of the most influential female rap groups of all time.

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Whether you’re lifting weights, running, or doing yoga, these songs are sure to help you power through your workout and achieve your fitness goals.

So put on your headphones, turn up the volume, and let the music move you!