American Council on Exercise by American Council on Exercise

If you’re looking to take your workout to the next level, flipping on the iPod may be the answer. According to recent studies, working out with music not only provides a positive effect on performing physical activity because it causes you to concentrate on the beat rather than the challenge, it also allows you to enjoy exercise more, perceive it to be less difficult and push yourself harder.

In an ACE-sponsored study, Dr. Carl Foster and Dr. John Porcari of the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, reviewed the effects of music on exercise intensity. In their review, the researchers quoted Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., of the Brunel University School of Sport and Education and an authority on music and exercise. "Music is like a legal drug for athletes," he said. “It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15 percent."

Listening to music while exercising can even help improve brain function. Clinical psychologist Charles Emery of Ohio State University studied the mental performance of 33 men and women in the last weeks of a cardiac rehabilitation program. After exercising both with and without music, participants were given a verbal fluency test. Results showed the men and women performed more than twice as well after listening to music during exercise as compared to after exercising without the music.

If you feel it’s time to add music into your workout regime or if you simply want to upgrade your current playlist, ACE has partnered with Power Music to create three compilations to help make physical activity feel less strenuous. Designed by ACE Certified Professionals, these carefully crafted mixes were based on beats per minute, popularity of songs and placement of tunes within the mix. Whether you are a lunchtime walker or group fitness instructor looking to better your classroom experience, check out the following mixes from ACE experts: 

Music For Active Walking

Designed by Michele Stanten, an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor, professional walking coach and former Fitness Director of Prevention, this high-energy, fast-paced music compilation features a wide range of music, including modern hits like “Shake It Off” and “Happy” and throwback favorites like “Walking on Sunshine.”

Keep on Running

For the running enthusiast, this mix of tunes will keep you motivated when pounding out the miles. Designed by ACE Senior Advisor of Health and Fitness Education Jessica Matthews, this master mix features hits such as “Whip It” and “Jungle Love.” The fast, energizing tunes will help you conquer hills and complete speed work with greater ease.

Workout Blast

ACE Certified Personal Trainer Brent McLemore designed this complication with beats to get your heart pumping as you tone your body. McLemore carefully crafted this mix using his 18 years of teaching experience. You’ll find radio hits such as “Timber” and “Beautiful Monster” remixed to give you the ultimate edge at each of your sweat sessions.