40 Upbeat Songs to Make Your Workout Fly By

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I think most exercisers agree that listening to some great music goes a long way when you're working out. It helps increase your energy and motivates you to work harder. In many ways, it even distracts you from the discomfort of exercise so that you'll keep going even when it's tough.

However, not just any music will do. We all have our own tastes and preferences for what we like to listen to when we exercise: pop, dance, techno, rock, metal, hip hop (Coach Jen's favorite), or all of the above. Sometimes, it's not the genre that matters; it's the pace (or beat). Others like inspirational lyrics. Personally, I think the beat matters. It has to match the pace of my workout—something I can't listen to and sit still. At the very least, I want to know (or be familiar with) the song that's playing. When I go to Spinning class, for example, and I encounter music that's too slow for the tempo of the workout, or too obscure for me to "escape" by singing along with the song in my head, I am not a happy exerciser.

Recently, I've been thinking about song length. Most radio hits are around 3 minutes long—you'd have to listen to 10 songs to get through a 30-minute workout—make that 20 for a full hour! I don't know about you, but my mind perceives that as a long time. So I've started to incorporate some longer songs into my playlists. Think of it this way: Would you rather know you have to exercise through 20 songs or 12? I pick 12. So I've gathered some of my favorite 4- to 6-minute workout songs to share with you! By selecting any 6-12 of them, you'll have a 30-60 minute workout playlist that's upbeat and motivating. As each song passes, you'll know you've hit a milestone in your workout. Stop watching the clock and start working out with these songs! 

Click on each link to listen to a preview (or purchase the mp3) at Amazon or iTunes.

Aerosmith, Sweet Emotion (5:10) –  Amazon  iTunes 
Angels & Airwaves, The Adventure (5:12)  – Amazon  iTunes 
Audio Bullys, Shot You Down (6:33) – Amazon  iTunes 
Beastie Boys, Body Movin' (Fatboy Slim Remix) (4:08) – Amazon  iTunes 
Benassi Bros, Feel Alive (4:48) – Amazon  iTunes 
Coldplay, Clocks (5:07) – Amazon  iTunes 
Dave Matthews Band, Drive In Drive Out (5:54) – Amazon  iTunes 
Dave Matthews Band, Tripping Billies (5:00) – Amazon  iTunes
DJ Sammy, Boys of Summer (4:55) – Amazon  iTunes
Fatboy Slim, Praise You (5:23) – Amazon  iTunes
Fatboy Slim, Wonderful Night, (4:46) – Amazon  iTunes
Faze Action, Samba (5:58) – Amazon  iTunes
Flock of Seagulls, I Ran (5:08) – Amazon  iTunes
Global Deejays, What a Feeling (Progressive Follow Up Mix) (5:31) – Amazon  iTunes
Jefferson Starship, We Built This City (4:54) – Amazon  iTunes
John Mayer, 3x5 (4:50), – Amazon  iTunes
Kanye West, Stronger (5:11) – Amazon  iTunes
Lauryn Hill,  Doo Wop (5:20) – Amazon  iTunes
Lo Fidelity Allstars, Battleflag (5:40) – Amazon  iTunes
Lynard Skynard, Sweet Home Alabama (4:43) – Amazon  iTunes
Madonna, Get Together (5:14) – Amazon  iTunes
Madonna, Ray of Light (5:20) – Amazon  iTunes
Michael Jackson, Thriller (5:57) – Amazon  iTunes
Miranda, Vamos a la Playa (6:09) – Amazon  iTunes
My Chemical Romance, Welcome to the Black Parade (5:11) – Amazon  iTunes
New Radicals, You Get What You Give (5:00) – Amazon  iTunes
New Radicals, Mother We Just Can't Get Enough (5:48) – Amazon  iTunes
Oasis, The Shock of the Lightening (5:09) – Amazon  iTunes
Outkast, Bombs Over Baghdad (5:04) – Amazon  iTunes
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dani California (4:42) – Amazon  iTunes
Rusted Root, Ecstacy (5:02) – Amazon  iTunes
Silversun Pickups, Lazy Eye (5:54) – Amazon  iTunes
Sonique, Feels So Good (4:44) – Amazon  iTunes
The All-American Rejects, The Last Song (5:00) – Amazon  iTunes
The Jacksons, Shake Your Body Down to the Ground (3:44) – Amazon  iTunes
The Killers, All These Things That I've Done (5:01) – Amazon  iTunes
The Music, Take the Long Road and Walk It (4:53) – Amazon  iTunes
The Verve, Bitter Sweet Symphony (5:58) – Amazon  iTunes
U2, Walk On (4:56) – Amazon  iTunes
Vinylshakerz, One Night in Bangkok XXL Mix (5:22) – Amazon  iTunes

Do you prefer exercising to short songs or long ones? Which songs above would you add to your own playlist?

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always looking for new song ideas.
thanks Report
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who still listens to "I Ran" lol I like the idea of longer songs but some of them are a little slow for me. Report
Don't know much on this list. but I would love to put together a few gospel tracks that are upbeat. I set up pandora on my phone with Kirk Franklin and get some of what I like but I still end up getting some music that is not conducive to working out, sometimes I end up hitting next a lot. Otherwise Pandora is great for music selection. Report
I need new songs!! Report
I see I'm going to have a create an exercise music list for us Flower Children and 70's - although I also like a lot of the 80's music too ... not familiar with probably 80% of these groups/songs. I tend to like longer songs if I'm going to have to put in some serious time, but for a short walk then shorter songs are nice too... Report
While I own a couple of those, they're not on my list. I have a collection of "regulars" on my playlist like Adam Lambert, Lady Gaga, and Placebo. I change out the rest on a monthly basis so I don't get bored of hearing the same ole rotation. Report
I'll have to try some of these, you forget some of the old favourites! Report
Michael Jackson "Thriller" is a great work out! Report
Great list. I DVR "talk shows" and watch them while walking on the treadmill. Makes the time pass fast because I get interested in the show and lose track of the time I've spent walking. Report
I agree with MCJULIEO I feel old because I too do not recognize half of the songs! Report
I usually talk when I am exercising Report
I don't so much mind how long a song is... I really like a steady beat. Unfortunately, a lot of exercise mixes don't sound like the originals to me, so I will use the original over a remix. Report
Great list! Thanks for sharing Report
I also love to listen to music while working out, usually Praise, Contemporary Christian, or Oldies, but I do have a broad array on my ipod. It helps me forget about the tiredness, pains, and to perservere through to success. Report
Holy crap. You have awesome taste in music. o.o It's pretty rare to see someone else who rocks the GaGa and the Flock of Seagulls at the same time.
Man, I feel REALLY OLD... I don't even recognize half of these songs! Report
I'm with the older crowd on country...personally my favorites for workouts are Rodney Atkins "The Middle", Brooks & Dunn "Hillbilly Deluxe", and Aaron Tippin "Big Boy Toys". And pretty much anything (upbeat) by Toby Keith!! ("She's a Hottie" always gets me motivated...) Report
I do like songs at least 5 min. I find Michael Jackson has quite a few that fit my aerobic pace and energize me. But I also like a lot of music from the Baroque Era. Once Bach or Vivaldi set up a tempo, it's consistent to the end of the piece and a lot of these are quite lively (vivace). Truly I can't exercise without music!!!!!!!!!!! Report
The list is very interesting. There are a bunch on there that I know and several I don't. I think longer songs make the time go by faster, especially if it's a favourite. I would probably have some of Hillsongs more faster paced songs on there and plenty of 60's, 70's, 80's and a few 90's on my list. Report
One of the best inventions of the IPOD is Genius. I like to put my IPOD on shuffle, but in the middle of a workout I could end up hearing something from the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack...not always the beat I need. Genius puts music together for you that is all similar to the first song you chose Report
I personally like country music - I'm just starting out with an MP3 player so some good country music suggestions to exercise by would be great! Report
Awesome list!
Definitely going to add the songs I don't already have, to my playlist!!
Mostly listen to full CDs, a few are on your list. Thanks for the additions. Report
Great list of songs! Report
when i'm walking, there are several tracks on the Lord of the Dance (irish step dance) CD that really get my feet flying. and they're fun to listen to! very upbeat and energetic. Report
I love my cheesy pop when I'm exercising. It's all designed to get tweens up and dancing, plus they have eternally cheerful messages. Shamefully I dig my Hannah Montanna/Miley Cyrus, and Demi Levato best.

Also great bands Flogging Molly (Celtic Rock) and Bond (instrumental Rock). All American Rejects, Bowling for Soup, and 80s Dance hits all get me up and moving.

I love the genius feature on itunes. It takes a song you like & matches songs to it. It's a great feature. Report
I LOVE music.... It can make or break a workout... Check out some of Jason and deMarco's remixes. Great beats and great messages. Especially "This is Love" and "It's Okay". They have tons of original fabulous songs (you can find them on youtube, amazon, or itunes). Also, if you like their stuff, Alan Lett has some great upbeat music as well. Report
Fabulous list!!! I love consistently adding new songs to my running playlist and I will check out the ones you mentioned above that I didn't recognize. I feel so good when I'm running to a new song. Actually that's one of the first things I think when I hear a new song on the radio, "will this motivate me when I run?" I love my running playlist. Thanks for this post!!! Report
I have a little bit of everything to choose from - danceable beats are a must I'm a big hip hop fan! Try ‘world’ music on itunes – sample some reggaeton or bhangra - you don’t need to know the words just move to the beat! Report
Love Michael Jackson's BEAT IT. Report
Thank you for posting this! Even though not every single song on this list made it to my iPod, it reminded me of a few good ones that I need to add, and has "sparked" an ongoing discussion between myself and a few of my friends - even ones who aren't yet Spark Members. We blog about our current workout tunes on MySpace, Facebook and LiveJournal, recommending songs to each other and helping stay motivated. And just think... it all started from reading this post! Report
they forgot the following songs
the kill-30seconds to mars
circus-brittany spears
roxann -mulan rouge soundtrack
cry -godley and cream Report
I change up my playlists often to keep myself from getting in a rut or bored. There is so much music out there! I like a little bit of everything! I really welcome the opportunity to descover new sounds and re-acquaint myself with older ones :) Report
great list! Report
Native American Powwow Drum Music! The beat varies from 2 step to men's fancy or women's fancy shawl. Throw in some sneak up music and you have the perfect round-up for exercise. Report
my favorite is Lyuryn Hill, and before i knew it on the treadmill and even when i walked, listening to music that i liked made time go faster. and it didn't feel so much like exercise. Report
This is a cool little mix of music, Nicole! Thanks for this note about music. I know it feels like a drag when you know how long your playlist is. So stocking up on 5-minute or even 12-inch versions of rare funk finds (YES!) is great idea! So thank you! Of course, I would recommend to anyone having the theme from "Rocky" as a staple in the mix. That's pretty long, I think. Report
I guess I'm a bit of an anomaly. Music distracts me when I work out. I like to concentrate on the muscles I'm working on. Report
Boy, there are some really good songs. I suggest an ipod for everybody. Some of my favorites are listed, but I didn't see Bread's "Mother Freedom" and John Cougar Mallencamp's "Hurt so Good." I like a "beaty" song too...I try to keep pace with it that way I'm getting more out of my walk.
Closer by Neyo and Womanizer by Britney Spears push me to run hard throughout the whole song. Report
I love music and it is easy for me to get into my work out that way.. Report
I never leave home without my MP3 player! Report
Firestarter by Prodigy
Several songs by Rage against the Machine Report
Music is a huge part of my success with consistency. I have been listening to music to increase my running pace. I listen to 160 bpm music (beats per minute). That is the perfect setting for me to reach my goal of running a 10 minute mile. Yes, I am a slow runner! Report
When I'm looking for longer songs to put into a workout, I tend to go with some 90s electronica. "Born Slippy" by Underworld (aka the song from the end of Trainspotting) is 8+ minutes long, and builds really well. For newer stuff, "Galvanize" by the Chemical Brothers and "Knights of Cydonia" from Muse (rock) also work, and clock in around 6 minutes each. Report
I love the country music and older Rock, though Aerosmith Sweet Emotion is one of my favorites! yes, I agree, it's an age thing! Report
I would prefer country also. Toby Keith, Brooks & Dunn or Alan Jackson. I agree it must be an age thing. Report
I'm with you Beth G. I'd rather have country. I had only heard of two songs on the whole list. It MUST be an age thing! Report
The whole "Flashdance" CD is great ... also Obsession by Animotion GREAT Report