Someone once said, “Music is what feelings sound like.” When we move our bodies, music is the soundtrack. Recently I have been exercising with a new friend. She adores the pool, and while I teach water aerobics twice a week, I rarely find myself actually in the pool. Instead I put my time into the choreography and creating a playlist for the class and then enact said plan on the pool deck.
But I noticed that while my friend and I were in the pool, the music just wasn’t at the right tempo to really get us moving, to get the heart rate up and provide us with that cardiovascular pull that we needed.
BPM, or beats per minute, can have a significant role in your workouts. BPM can be defined as: the pace of music measured by the number of beats occurring in 60 seconds. Depending on what you are looking to get out of your workout, you can choose songs accordingly, based on their BPM. Typical workouts range from 120-140 BPM.
Choosing music based on its BPM allows you to build a playlist that can incorporate a warm up, cardiovascular intervals, recovery, strength songs and a cool down. When I make my playlist, I have a chart that I use to design my workout that breaks it up into strategic segments where “power”, “speed,” “strength,” and “recovery” are the usual ones. Once I have that workout charted then I add music to suit that task at hand.
There are a variety of downloads and applications for your smart phone that can be used in order to accomplish this, such as “BPM Calculator” for Windows or “BPM Assistant” for Mac OS X. Also, www.runningplaylist.net is an application for your smart phone and music software that can be used to build your workout – you decide on your workout, e.g. 5K training, and a variety of playlists that will help your through your 5K run are made for you. For more information about playlists and tempo for peak performance and endorphine release, check out these Lifehacker blogs: How to Find Your Music’s BPM to Build a Great Exercise Playlist and How to Create the Ultimate Exercise Playlist.
Music tempo has a tremendous impact on how our workouts well, work out. If you feel that you want to go strong, to go the distance, find the songs that make you feel like doing just that. If you feel you need a song to warm you up, find one that emotionally ramps you up. Think about what your feelings sound like while considering your playlist and get out there and get moving!
In good health,
Dance and Group Fitness Teacher
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