I love a good playlist for “walk-ing out”.

When I need help getting in the mood for a daily walk, or I wish to escape to memory lane to eat up some time, or I need a coach to help me focus on an intense pace – I create a playlist; a compilation of favorite songs strategically placed to take my mind off exercise.

How about this headline from Science daily –Music increases exercise endurance by 15%.

Yes, studies have actually shown shown that when athletes synchronize their movements to a musical beat, their bodies can handle more exertion.

The tempo of music or BPM – beats per minute (Hmmm…sounds like we’re talking about heart rate! Oh! Wait a minute – we are!) is what can be measured to effect the pace of a workout.

The recommended “sweet spot” for workout music is between 125 and 140 bpm, with higher intensity exercisers or athletes-in-training opting for 162 to 168 bpm. Ideally, mixing up the pace – starting with a slower bpm and then steadily speeding up the beats to increase intensity – helps get the best workout.

In case you’re wondering how to find the bpm of your favorite songs,  can tell you instantly. All you need to know is the song title and/or artist for an immediate answer.

Every season I look forward to sitting down and making a new playlist, sometimes two.

My playlists will be specifically timed to get me through a certain amount of minutes; this helps me stay focused and also works as a timer so I’m not constantly looking at my watch. For walking, I usually estimate about 15 minutes worth of songs for a mile.

Let’s say I was planning a playlist for a 3 mile walk. During mile one, the first 4-8 minutes would be from 90 – 120 bpm; this gets me warmed up and psyched for the “walk-out”. The next 7 minutes will be in the 120 – 130 bpm range to quicken my pace. By mile two I’m ready for some intensity – 130 -140 bpm for about 7-8 minutes; for the second half of mile two I want to get myself in a very high intensity range 140 -150 bpm, this is a much faster pace and challenging to maintain.  For the last mile, I will divide it in half or thirds and begin slowing down my pace.

Now, let’s say this sounds like too much work, math and organization. (Some of you know what I’m going to say…) “We live in an awesome age.” Why? Because anyone who needs running, walking, cycling, playlists with bpm and time information can go to, an app for creating a playlist or choosing from already made downloadable lists.

Walking should also be about stress relief and relaxation. I always want to make sure I have a playlist that is made up of mood-friendly favorite songs for a more gentle walk. I’m not so interested in bpm for this group of songs, the length of the music is more important so that I can just escape in my thoughts and stop when the music tells me to.

All this blogging has made me restless. I want to get up out of my chair and take a walk, with some awesome music of course.

To keep motivation.

2 thoughts on “playlists

  1. Did you ever see the Patty Duke movie, “Billie”? I think it was mid-1960’s. She is in high school and faster than the boys on the track team. Her secret was the music beat in her head.


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