Jump higher, run faster, and think sharper by adding music to your routine.

Add some pep to your step with a self-created soundtrack during workouts, and stimulate your brain power with some steady melodies while you work.

A study published last month by the National Strength and Conditioning Association tested strength tests conducted with self selected music helped decrease the perceived difficulty of the workout and increase ability in power exercises.  So in any activity where you need a quick boost in an accelerated effort, fill your playlist with songs that specifically fit your mindset.

Weight rooms, if they’re at all legit, mostly play rap, pop, and hip hop. The reason is simple, we tend to fall in line with the intensity and tempo of the tunes.  Many efforts in the gym require quickness, power, and maximal strength.  When slower songs are played, intensity and pace are more likely to decrease.  Likewise, running playlists can either speed up or slow down a run.  Either way, you can get more done because your perceived effort will decrease.  Your workouts will be more enjoyable and go by quicker.

Use this to control your tempo on runs.  If you are running something short and intense, choose fast paced songs with lyrics that have a sense of urgency to them.

Some I like right now for this are:

Usher! If he can’t make you move, no one can. Songs like his uptempo More, DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, and Scream will push you through tough workouts.

Anna Sun by Walk the Moon
Changing by Airborne Toxic Event
Sometime Around Midnight by Airborne Toxic Event (Starts off slow, but you’ll get big pay off later)
Walk by Foo Fighters
Panic Switch by Silversun Pickups
My Body by Young the Giant
Ready to Start by Arcade Fire
Knock Knock by Band of Horses
Tin Can by Wires in the Wall
Month of May by Arcade Fire
Radioactive by Kings of Leon
All I Ever Wanted by Airborne Toxic Event

Scream by Usher
Hey Baby by Pitbull
Back in Time by Pitbull (really anything Pitbull)
More by Usher
Run the World by Beyonce
Wild One by Flo Rida
Glad You Came by the Wanted
Turn Me On by David Guetta

If you want help controlling a steady, longer distance run, listen to a playlist of songs that are mildly paced.  They’ll have a fairly steady beat audible in the background. Be sure that they’re still motivating.

Some that work well for this right now:

Oh Love by Green Day
Out of My Head by Max and the Moon
Where We Do We Go by The Darlings
Sleep Alone by Two Door Cinema Club
Settle Down by No Doubt
Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepson
Some Nights by Fun
Everybody Talks by Neon Trees
Marry You by Bruno Mars
Simple Song by The Shins
The Ringer by Wires In the Walls
Princess of China by Coldplay
Mr. Know It All by Kelly Clarkson
Workouts aren’t the only things that benefit from a musical background.  A separate study conducted in 2011 showed that music in the workplace increased productivity if the songs had no lyrics.  If lyrics were present, however, productivity decreased.

Music without lyrics is best for productivity when studying or working in the office. Erik Deutsch’s Demonio Teclado is a great album for this purpose.

If you like something a little jazzy, Erik Deutsch has a pretty cool album out that provides you with interesting compositions that will give you brain boosting benefits without making you feel like you’re stuck on an elevator. If you want a more familiar sound check out David Sides on YouTube. He plays piano covers of current and classic popular songs. Both these guys are so good they give me goosebumps.

Music is an important catalyst to keeping you moving.  Use it to power through whatever you do, and keep it fresh so that you don’t become numb to it’s effects.