“Top 40” Exercise Playlist

So, obviously, this is a blog about food. From its title, that’s probably pretty clear. But sometimes it’s nice to jaunt off on a little side trail that has something to do with another area of interest frequently paired with diet–like, ohhh, let’s say exercise. To maintain good health, I try to exercise regularly, usually by doing yoga, running, or dancing around my living room like a Britney Spears backup dancer slash insane asylum escapee. Each of these activities is enjoyable in and of themselves, but I would be LOST were it not for the music that accompanies them. In fact, one of the main reasons I look forward to exercise is that, as a music lover, it’s my chance to physically jam out all the feelings music evokes. (Which is why I highly recommend getting a treadmill in your garage so you can bring out some Beyonce dance arms while you run. Much less embarrassing to do in your garage than at the gym…not that I would know… Also in your garage you can run in mismatched Halloween socks and your rattiest tank top from high school. Again, not that I would know…)

I’m always on the hunt for great music to work out to–the stuff that gets me singing along loud and busting my best moves. (Like “The Badger.” Available upon request.) The search for body-rocking, soul-jiving workout music must not be uncommon, either, as I frequently see Facebook friends post asking for the same thing. Since replying in their comment thread with a 40-song playlist would probably come off as a bit excessive, I’ll just post it here. Below are:

–24 songs to majorly rock out to (hardest phase of your workout)
–9 songs for medium speed (like a comfortable jog)
–6 songs that are low-key enough to warm up with but still definitely get you moving.

As far as I know, these are all available on Spotify. I hope they get you grooving like they do for me! Happy exercising!

Serious Jam Playlist (Intense Workout)

1. Hey Ya! by OutKast.
Probably the best workout song of all time.

2. Don’t Stop by Foster the People.
Listen to The People! Don’t stop!

3. Can’t Stop Running by Todd Rundgren.
No better song to keep you running.

4. Girl by Beck.
Beck sounds like he uses a Random Lyrics Generator, but hey, the music’s fun!

5. Shake Me Like a Monkey by Dave Matthews Band.
Killer song for cardio.

6. Djobi, Djoba by the Gipsy Kings.
Cho-kee-cho-bee, cho-kee-cho-ba!

7. Hummingbird Heartbeat by Katy Perry.
If I were stranded on a desert island with only one artist to work out to, I’d choose Katy Perry every time.

8. Waking Up in Vegas by Katy Perry.
Not that that would ever happen.

9. Birthday by Katy Perry.
But if it did, totally Katy Perry.

10. Video Killed the Radio Star by The Presidents of the United States of America.
Anyone else associate this song with the soundtrack to The Wedding Singer?

11. Classic by MKTO.
Not to be confused with Vlasic by PIKL.

12. Home Run by Geoff Moore and the Distance.
Digging deep on this one, a CCM song from 1995. Cheesy but a lot of fun.

13. What I Like About You by The Romantics.
Uhhhh-huh! Hey!

14. Love Letter to Japan by The Bird and the Bee.
A lively introduction to The Bird and the Bee, if you don’t know their stuff.

15. Canadian Idiot by Weird Al.
You’d be surprised how many of Weird Al’s songs are compulsively danceable.

16. Hit Me by Dirty Loops.
This Swedish band is a-ma-zing. Look them up.

17. Here It Goes Again by OK Go.
Remember their famous treadmill video? It’s a sign that you should get on the treadmill to this song.

18. Crazy in Love by Beyonce and Jay Z.
If these two can’t make you dance, you are made of stone.

19. Good by Better Than Ezra.
Classic ’90s jam.

20. I Love It by Icona Pop.
There’s a clean version available on Spotify, FYI. Where she’s a “90’s chic,” not a “90’s you-know-what.”

21. You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oates.
A great feel-good song that has held up over time.

22. Tonight, Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae.
I don’t know who the heck these guys are, but “there’s a party on the rooftop, top of the world.”

23. Out in the Twilight by Tally Hall.
Tally Hall has got to be the most talented, least appreciated band I know of.

24. Call It What You Want by Foster the People.
Another Foster the People one to round out the list.

Medium Jam:

26. My Name is Jonas by Weezer.
Weezer is a must for any workout playlist. Too bad none of their songs are longer than two minutes.

27. Girls Chase Boys by Ingrid Michaelson.
Get to see her in concert later this month–super excited!

28. What Is Life by George Harrison.
A beast of a moustache was not the only thing The Quiet Beatle could pull off. The man could also jam.

29. Every Heartbeat by Amy Grant.
This is still a really fun song, provided you can get over the 1991 drum sound.

30. I Want You Back by the Jackson 5.
For some reason, this section of the playlist has a lot of ’70s stuff…

31. I Know What I Know by Paul Simon.
See above. Also, as an aside, I once had this song in my head for ten days straight.

32. Feelin’ All Right by Joe Cocker.
Okay, end of the ’70s streak! (Though it was probably the best decade for music in the 20th century, just sayin’.)

33. Rock and Roll by Eric Hutchinson.
A boppy, poppy little tune.

34. Ready to Run by the Dixie Chicks
Especially good to run to, for obvious reasons.

35. Party in the CIA by Weird Al.
Remember what I said about Weird Al?

Low-Key Jam:

36. Weight of the World by Chantal Kreviazuk.
Love this song for its free-and-happy feel.

37. Five O’Clock World by The Vogues.
Also known as the theme song for The Drew Carey Show.

38. Inside and Out by Feist.
Probably listened to this song 70+ times since getting this album for Christmas.

39. The House That Jack Built by Aretha Franklin.
Had to include a little Queen of Soul.

40. Eyes on the Prize by Sara Groves.
A song about keepin’ on keepin’ on.

41. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go by Pomplamoose.
Super fun cover of Wham!’s 1984 hit.

Whoops, how did we get to 41? Guess I threw in a freebie. Anyway, for next time, back to your regularly scheduled program: FOOD!

5 thoughts on ““Top 40” Exercise Playlist

  1. Nice list! I can appreciate any list that includes Better Than Ezra. (You know they're my favorite, right?) Also, what about "Houdini" by Foster the People? Quite possibly in my Top 5 Favorite Songs of All Time list.

  2. Of course I know that, Julia! I can't think of them without thinking of you. 🙂 Just listened to Houdini for the first time–I'll have to put it on my playlist as well.

    • I meant “Gimme Some Lovin’ ” by the Spencer Davis Group, not the Yardbirds song.
      Looking at the list makes me feel old, I guess, since I’ve only ever heard four of these songs. I’ve got to agree with you on the Jackson 5 and “Five O’clock World” – who doesn’t love the only hit ever with yodeling in it? Joe Cocker and “Home Run” not so much, even though I like Geoff Moore, and have seen him in concert twice. (He’s the only CCM artist to have played BOTH the Tremont Turkey Festival and the Morton Pumpkin Festival.)
      Some others, in no particular order, and not split by levels:
      1) Black is Black by Los Bravos
      2) I’m Just the Singer in a Rock ‘n’ Roll Band – more Moody Blues
      3) Saxophones by Jimmy Buffet
      4) Any John Philip Sousa march, first choice would be The Liberty Bell March (better known as the theme to Monty Python’s Flying Circus)
      5) Just about any polka, especially The Beer Barrel
      6) Running on Empty by Jackson Brown
      7) Take on Me by a-ha
      8) La Bamba by Los Lobos. A rare case where I like the remake better than the original, having heard the original first. I remember roller skating with you to this.
      9) I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) by the Proclaimers
      10) I Get Around by the Beach Boys. I once heard John Sebastian refer to this as a new Bach piece.
      11) Joy by Apollo 100 (speaking of Bach)
      12) Nut Rocker by B. Bumble and the Stingers
      13) In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly (when you want to go a long time)
      14) Fire by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown
      15) Life is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me) by Reunion
      16) Barracuda by Heart
      17) Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin
      18) Time Won’t Let Me by The Outsiders (and their 14 year old drummer)
      19) Bend Me, Shape Me by The American Breed
      20) Marrakesh Express by Crosby, Stills, and Nash
      21) Keep on Dancing by The Gentrys
      22) Won’t Get Fooled Again by The Who
      23) We’re Not Gonna Take It by Twisted Sister (totally different than the Who song of the same name)
      24) Irish Day by Iona – one of the set they played at Cornerstone in 1996 in the best concert I’ve ever been to. I also saw them at the final Cornerstone in 2012. Still very good, and that time I had Cheryl to dance with. Their jigs and reels fill this bill very well also. Besides, where else are you going to run across an electric bagpipe?
      25) You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon
      26) Come Dancing by the Kinks
      27) Caught in a Dream by Alice Cooper
      28) Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac (though I’m no fan of the original Welsh Witch)
      29) I’m sure I’ve left out plenty of other good ones, but I’ll have to close out with my absolute favorite for this: Walk of Life by Dire Straits
      Now I'm going to have to listen (exercise???) to some of yours–Dad

  3. Just thought of you, listening to "Quäl dich fit" by the Wise Guys, a German a capella group. Heather

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