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Music Plays a Key Role in Workouts. (Now, Rock On.)

The playwright and poet William Congreve once said that “music hath charms to soothe a savage breast.” 

But how much time did that guy spend in the gym?

When you’re working out and you want to burn up those calories, you want tunes that’ll kick your inner savage into overdrive.

A 2013 article in Scientific American said that music during a workout distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort and may even promote metabolic efficiency.

“When listening to music, people run farther, bike longer and swim faster than usual—often without realizing it,” the publication said, noting that an expert on the psychology of exercise music said one could think of music as “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug.”

And a 2019 study in the journal Psychology of Sport & Exercise found that upbeat music helped give people the motivation they needed for high-intensity workouts.

When participants listened to upbeat, motivational music, the study found, their heart rates and peak power output were higher than when they listened to a podcast or no audio at all.

The people at Fitness Volt decided to do a little research into the music-muscle connection.

The online sports resource analyzed 5,440 songs from Spotify’s  (SPOT)  most popular workout playlists to determine the artists who feature the most.

‘Hot In It’

Sweatin’ to the Oldies? C’mon, man, that’s old school. Keep up with the times.

“The similarities between the most played artists reveals that there are certain genres and artists that are particularly popular to accompany exercise,” Fitness Jolt said. 

“The study shows which artists people choose to listen to for their workout, crowning rappers, DJs and electro musicians the most favored.”

Yeah, you’re not likely to switch on the easy-listening sounds when you want to bench-press 300 pounds or tear it up on the treadmill.

So who was No. 1 with a bullet on the workout hit parade?

Well, it turns out that Tiesto, the Dutch DJ and music producer, was at the top of the chart.  

Of the songs that were analyzed, Tiësto — who was voted “the Greatest DJ of All Time” by Mix magazine in a 2010-2011 poll — featured 51 times with common songs, including “Hot In It” and “The Motto”

Rap artist Drake came in second, featuring 49 times in the analysis with songs such as “Massive” and “Chicago Freestyle.”

‘What Would You Do’

David Guetta ranks as the third most popular artist in the U.S. for workouts, featuring 41 times in Spotify’s workout playlists. 

Placing fourth is Joel Corry who has featured 30 times. The most common songs include “What Would You Do,” popping up eight times, and “OUT OUT.”

And ranking as the fifth most popular artist in U.S. workout playlists is Alesso, whose most common song featured is “Words.”

The remaining names on the top 10 are Jack Harlow, Lil Baby, Swedish House Mafia and DaBaby, who were tied for the eighth spot; Armin van Buuren, and coming in at No.  10 was — drumroll, please — Alok.

Now you’re ready to hit the gym. And when you get home and you’re feeling tired, remember that studies have shown relaxing music can improve your sleep by slowing your breathing and quieting your nervous system.

Maybe William Congreve was on to something after all.

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