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Anyone who’s ever worn headphones at the gym knows that the right music pumps you up and allows you to push yourself harder and longer.

Now with the help of neuroimaging, researchers have the evidence to back those claims up.

Take a look at this interesting article written by Jasmin C. Hutchinson, PhD, in the American Medical Athletic Association’s June 2017 journal. It highlights some of the psychological and psychophysical benefits for runners.

Specifically, the Dr. Hutchinson shows that music can:

  • Enhance emotions
  • Increase motivation
  • Distract from pain
  • Delay fatigue
  • Help runners regulate and maintain your desired pace
  • Aid in post-race recovery

The research is clear – the right music can help make you a better runner.

Still, it’s important for individuals to tailor their music to help them achieve their goals.

For example, stimulative or upbeat music increases psychomotor arousal, which pumps a runner up. This is great for hard training sessions and days when you need an extra bit of motivation.

On the other hand, soft or slow music decreases arousal and facilitates relaxation. This is perfect for maintenance runs and cool-downs.

If you want to figure out the best songs for your run, this blog will show you how to construct a playlist with the perfect BPM (beats per minute).

Here are some of the can’t-miss songs on my own playlist:

  • The Proclaimers – I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles):

With its steady drumming beat, this song is perfect to help any runner establish a consistent pace.

  • Depeche Mode – Wrong:

Simple and straightforward, you can’t help but place one foot in front of the other to the beat, which makes this classic of synthpop a very effective running tune.  

  • Taylor Swift – Shake It Off:

Like her or hate her, there’s no denying that this catchy song is a mood-lifter and provides a great beat to run to.

  • AC/DC – Thunderstruck:

These legends of rock and roll have a dozen noteworthy (pun alert!) running tunes to choose from. But if you’re looking for that final jolt of energy at the peak of your run, nothing is quite so electric as the live version of Thunderstruck. Crank the volume up to 11 and go, go, go!

  • Michael Jackson – Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough:

The lyrics, the beat, and that feel-good factor make this the perfect song for any running playlist.