Walking Music Mixes and Playlists

Use Pace and BPM to Find the Best Walking Songs for You

Woman walking and listening to music. Field and Study Centre, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Gallo Images - Aubrey Jonsson / Getty Images

What music do you walk to? The walking music you choose may impact the effectiveness of your workout. Researchers have studied the link between different types of music and exercise, and they have found that choosing tunes within specific BPM (beats per minute) ranges can help you reach your exercise goals.

The Best Walking BPM

If you want to set the right pace, selecting music based on its beats per minute (BPM) will help you keep in rhythm. Different workouts will call for a different BPM range. You might also choose songs with different BPMs for different parts of your workout from warm up to cool down.

BPM Benefits

In a study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), study authors explain a principle called entrainment or synchronization.

Simply put, our bodies like to move to the beat of the music. When we are walking, we want to step in time with the rhythm. When you maintain a regular rhythm, it becomes easier to maintain the proper workout intensity.

For these reasons, it is smart to choose music with a BPM that correlates to your target walking pace. The faster the beat, the more your walking pace increases and the harder you work.

Choosing a BPM

When choosing music for your playlist, come up with tunes you enjoy in different BPM ranges. You can vary the tempo of your music to match the goal of different workout phases.

For example, your warm-up should include motivational tunes that fall into a lower BPM range. Aim for songs in the 90–115 BPM range like "Forever Young" by Rod Stewart or "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash.

Once you are warmed up, you can increase the tempo. A good moderate walking BPM ranges from about 115 to 120. "Lets Dance (Extended Mix)" by David Bowie (116 BPM) is a great tune for days when you want to keep your workout moderate.

There may be days, however, when you want to increase the pace and bump up the BPM range. For your power walking workout, the experts at ACE recommend music with an approximate BPM of 137–139. Songs like Britney Spears' "Toxic" and The Black Crowes' "Struttin Blues" work well.

Advanced exercisers may even choose to increase the pace further to 145 BPM and reach a more brisk pace. For running, you'll want to increase it to 147–169 beats per minute.

More Music Benefits

The music you choose for your walking workout provides other benefits that can help to make your workouts more effective.

When commenting on the research conducted by ACE, Costas Karageorghis, Ph.D., from London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education explained music's powerful impact.

According to Karageorghis, “music is like is a legal drug for athletes. It can reduce the perception of effort significantly and increase endurance by as much as 15%."

If you struggle to maintain energy and motivation during workouts, music makes it easier to get through your exercise session. You may even work harder with a great playlist.

According to authors of a 2017 study on music and exercise, music captures our attention, triggers a range of emotions, helps to regulate mood, increases work output, heightens arousal, and induces states of higher functioning.

Finding Music by BPM

There are a number of apps and programs available that can help you find music based on your goal beats per minute. The following are some of our favorites:

  • PaceDJ App: This free iOS or Android app searches your mobile music for songs that match your chosen BPM so you can build your own playlist. If you are looking for new tunes, they also have suggested playlists for moderate walk, easy walk, and runs.
  • BeaTunes: This is a shareware iTunes helper that analyzes the beats per minute of your music and helps you organize your iTunes library. BeaTunes offers a free two-week trial, after which you'll need to purchase a license.
  • Podrunner: This site has downloads of fixed tempo music mixes to match your chosen BPM. It is supported by donation.
  • Walk by Jog.fm: This site is also a downloadable app that allows you to search for and download complete playlists based on BPM.

Walking Music for Playlists

These walking workout music mix recommendations come from fellow walkers, and they target a variety of BPM ranges. Use these suggestions to mix and match a playlist to meet your tastes and walking goals.

Full Albums for Walking

One of the simplest ways to build a walking playlist is to start with an album you like. Rearrange the songs by BPM to fit your full workout from warm up to cool down. Here are some album suggestions from a variety of musical genres.

Genre Album Our Notes
R&B Deborah Cox's "Remixed" Complements a treadmill walking speed of 4 mph
Country Dixie Chick's "Taking the Long Way" A great mix of fast-paced songs and slower options for a warm-up or cool down
Country Juice Newton's "Greatest Hits: Nashville" Energetic and fun
Christian Rock Hosanna Integrity's "Shout to the Lord 2000" Includes some hard-driving, fast songs such as "Friends in High Places" and "My Redeemer Lives"
70's Pop ABBA's "The Definitive Collection" A fun album with many songs that match a good, brisk walking pace

Walking Music Mix for 4 to 5 mph

For a walking pace around 4 to 5 mph, select songs with a BPM of 120 and work your way up to 135. This example mix includes folk, country, classic rock, techno, and heavy metal:

  • "Poor Misguided Fool" by StarSailor (116 bpm)
  • "Like A Hurricane" by Neil Young (117 bpm)
  • "Long Train Runnin'" by Doobie Brothers (119 bpm)
  • "Be The Rain" by Neil Young (120 bpm)
  • "Trip Like I Do" by Crystal Method (120 bpm)
  • "Run Like Hell" by Pink Floyd (123 bpm)
  • "Losing My Religion" byR.E.M. (125 bpm)
  • "Sweet Child of Mine" by Guns N Roses (125 bpm)
  • "Dragula" by Rob Zombie (125 bpm)
  • "Du Hast" by Rammstein (125 bpm)
  • "Silver And Gold" by U2 (125 bpm)
  • "No Favela" by Deep Secrets (126 bpm)
  • "Remember" by ATB (126 bpm)
  • "The Hand That Feeds" by Nine Inch Nails (128 bpm)
  • "Sin" by Nine Inch Nails (128 bpm)
  • "Ich Will" by Rammstein (128 bpm)
  • "True Grit" by The Crystal Method (128 bpm)
  • "Ready Steady Go" by Paul Oakenfold (128 bpm)
  • "Starting Over" by The Crystal Method (128 bpm)
  • "One Of These Days" by Pink Floyd (128 bpm)
  • "Are You Gonna Go My Way" by Lenny Kravitz (130 bpm)
  • "Eifersucht" by Rammstein (130 bpm)
  • "Wollt Ihr Das Bett in Flammen" by Rammstein (130 bpm)
  • "The Wonders of You" by Andy Hunter (130 bpm)
  • "Born Too Slow" by The Crystal Method (130 bpm)
  • "Just One Fix" Ministry (133 bpm)
  • "Let U Go" by ATB (133 bpm)
  • "Rockin In The Free World" by Neil Young (133 bpm)
  • "Sleepless" by King Crimson (133 bpm)
  • "China Girl" by David Bowie (134 bpm)
  • "Dedicated" by ATB (135 bpm)

Walking Music Mix for 3.2 to 3.5 mph

If you're looking for a slightly slower pace, this list complements walking at speeds from 3.2 to 3.5 miles per hour. It's heavy on the '70s and '80s disco.

  • "Machine Gun" by Commodores
  • "One Night in Bangkok" by Murray Head
  • "Gloria" by Laura Brannigan
  • "I Want a New Drug" by Huey Lewis
  • "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer
  • "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow" by Fleetwood Mac
  • "Long Time" by Foreigner
  • "Get on Your Feet" (appropriate) by Gloria Estefan
  • "Jump" by Pointer Sisters
  • "Give Me the Night" by George Benson
  • "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme" by ABBA
  • "Born to be Alive" by Patrick Hernandez
  • "Nothing from Nothing" by Billy Preston
  • "Fame" by Irene Cara
  • "The Look" by Roxette
  • "Freeze Frame" by J Geils Band
  • "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor
  • "We are Family" by Sister Sledge and Jade
  • "Get Ready for This" by 2 Unlimited

Other Mixes to Try

Looking for a mix that spans genres from funk to rap? This playlist has a little bit of everything:

  • "Pon de Replay (Radio Edit)" by Rihanna
  • "Don't Cha (Kaskade Radio Edit)" by The Pussycat Dolls & Busta Rhymes
  • "Black Betty" by Ram Jam
  • "Bananza (Belly Dancer)" by Akon
  • "Strokin'" by Clarence Carter
  • "100% Pure Love" by Crystal Waters
  • "Shake That (Edited Version)" by Eminem
  • "Get Down On It" by Kool & The Gang
  • "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye
  • "Wildfire" by Michael Murphey
  • "Dr. Feelgood" by Mötley Crüe
  • "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" by Tony Bennett
  • "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" by Trace Adkins
  • "Swing" by Trace Adkins
  • "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy

Or maybe you're a big fan of oldies and late '80s and '90s tunes:

  • "Gloria" by Laura Brannigan
  • "Do You Believe in Love" by Cher
  • "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits
  • "Walk of Life" by Dire Straits
  • "Centerfold" by J.Geils Band
  • "Freeze Frame" by J.Geils Band
  • "Up" by Shania Twain
  • "Red Rubber Ball" by Cyrkle
  • "Sooner or Later" by Grassroots
  • "Midnight Confessions" by Grassroots
  • "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf
  • "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • "Put Me In Coach" by John Fogarty
  • "All My Lovin'" by The Beatles
  • "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles

A Word From Verywell

Remember that music can make a big difference in your workout. Take some time to try new songs, create new playlists, and experiment with different beats per minute ranges to challenge yourself when walking. You may find that it puts a spring in your step and allows you to boost your workout to meet new goals.

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