Fortunately, there is actual research out there to support the notion that music combined with exercise is a Good Thing. Not only can the right music enhance exercise performance, but music combined with exercise can actually make you really freakin' smart for at least a little while afterwards.
Okay, the researchers didn't say "really freakin' smart." They said the combination could "stimulate and increase cognitive arousal while helping to organize cognitive output." (And warning: they were talking about Vivaldi. Check your playlist and adjust expectations accordingly).
The first study, which is a survey study and is pretty old now, is actually kind of cute. Crabby completely agrees with the author's contention that beat is more important than melody in choosing the "right" music, and that synchronizing the music with the rhythm of your footsteps or swimming strokes or whatever is an excellent idea. She questions, however, the author's contention that the song should conjure up exercise associations if at all possible--the author seems to assume these associations would naturally be pleasant and motivational! Again, you may want to check your own workout and P.E. class history and adjust accordingly.
So now that we've gotten that cursory nod to "research" out of the way, lets talk tunes!
Crabby cannot do aerobic exercise without the proper music. (More on this in a future post. She has a Theory she's going to share). So Crabby has spent hundreds of hours searching out the best downloadable tunes out there--they must be great songs that have the right beat for exercise. Would you like her to share these with you?
Well, she won't.
Why not? Is it because she's selfish and mean and wants you to do all that hard work yourself?
No. She would love for you to enjoy them too.
Is it because some of her iPod selections are so cheesy that she's embarrassed about them?
No, that's not it either. Many of them are indeed cheesy but she's not embarrassed about it.
In fact Crabby has all the best cheesy but irresistible songs, as well as the best classy songs too. Her workout music is awesome and eclectic and motivating. Great beats, great melodies, great songs! You should be so lucky as to have her playlists.
It's just that despite the excellence of her choices, you would probably hate most of them.
Isn't it weird? But one of the most powerful lessons in the complete subjectivity of personal taste (short of bringing a beloved first draft to a writing group) is listening to someone else's workout music playlist. Especially if that someone has posted it on iTunes and swears they've got the best songs in the world for working out in the world on there.
Have you ever done this? You go to iTunes and make your way to iMix and carefully searched for "cardio" or "workout" or "elliptical" to get hints from others about what to listen to. And you think because you're specifying aerobic music that the tunes will have good quick beats and motivational melodies and that they'll be, well, good songs? And then you listen to them.
Just marvel at the Complete Crap people are raving about! Way too slow, too boring, too stupid, too harsh, too soft, too insipid--it's awful, hideous, horrendous! One out of a hundred tunes you find are actually decent, and many of these are the completely wrong beat for working out to.
It seems like an odd coincidence that everything that Crabby likes is Wonderful, and others are so hopeless at choosing good music. Quite a puzzle!
So Crabby will not reveal her choices in particular, because there is a good chance you won't like them and will reveal yourself as having Bad Taste. On the other hand, she loves to hear what you folks do about music--whether it is mandatory, and what sort of things get you going. And should you happen to mention something that reveals your Excellent Taste (i.e., Crabby likes it too), who knows, she might chime in in agreement.