Most Exercising Americans Say Their Workouts Suffer Without the Perfect Tunes

Monday December 7, 2020

Queen's "We Will Rock You," "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor and Guns n' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle" top the list of the best workout songs of all time, according to new research.

The new survey of 2,000 Americans who exercise regularly identified the top 50 songs that respondents use as the soundtrack to their workouts.

Hip-hop (14%), pop (10%) and a "little bit of everything (10%) topped respondents' favorite genres to exercise to.

Sixty-five percent of respondents, moreover, said they'd have "no motivation" to exercise without their workout music of choice.

Commissioned by RockMyRun and conducted by OnePoll, the survey examined the role that music plays in motivation to exercise.

Survey respondents were also posed a curious hypothetical: If they could only workout to the music of one artist for the rest of their life, who would it be?

Acts named by respondents varied widely and included ABBA, AC/DC, Billy Idol, The Black-Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, DJ Khaled, Eminem, Icona Pop, Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, Queen, Rick Ross, Rihanna, Rolling Stones and Taylor Swift.

Workout karaoke also proved common, as many respondents were able to name a song that they couldn't resist singing along to while workout out — even if they were out of breath.

Respondents varied widely not only in terms of the workout music taste, but also in terms of how they prefer to play their music while exercising.

Seven percent of respondents select their own songs while they're working out, while 39% prefer to listen to a premade playlist created specifically for exercise.

To boost my mood (32%), to help me focus/get in "the zone" (31%) and as a distraction from the physical exertion (19%) were the reasons that best described why the respondents listen to music while working out.

Feelings associated with listening to music while working out varied among respondents, but the most common ones included feeling active, energetic, motivated and focused.

By contrast, the most common feelings reported when working out without music included feeling bored, tired and lazy.

The right playlist can produce more than just motivation when it comes to exercising — as 68% of respondents even reported an increase in performance due to listening to music while working out.

But ads can be a mood killer, with 69% of respondents saying that ads interrupting their workout music kills their momentum.

Moreover, more than seven in 10 respondents say that when it comes to cardio, faster music motivates them more than slower music — a finding that Katie Addison, RockMyRun's Chief Operating Officer, says is consistent with findings from users of the app.

"We often say that music 'moves us,' but when it comes to workout playlists, that influence can be quite literal," said Addison.

"Music not only sets the tone for the workout, but according to our user data, it can actually set the pace for runners — with the speed for 65% of our users increasing with the BPM of their music."

It seems that the right workout music also has the ability to transport listeners in a figurative sense, as 46% of respondents reported having once gotten so caught up in their workout music that they didn't realize they had finished their routine.

And the absence of the right tunes can also have an impact, as 65% agree that their workout performance is worse when they don't have access to their workout music of choice.

"When it comes to keeping yourself musically motivated for a workout, personalization is key, but the effort required to create that 'perfect workout playlist' can take away from precious exercise time," added Addison.

"Luckily, choice algorithms and AI can help with that, adding new tunes to your mix based on the ones you already love to help your workout fly by."