Walking Music Mixes and Playlists

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

Woman walking and listening to music

Verywell / Ryan Kelly

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.

Selecting music based on BPM will help you keep in rhythm as you walk. 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 research review published by the American Council on Exercise (ACE), Carl Foster, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Exercise and Health Program, explained 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.

That's why it's 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.

Your warm-up should include motivational tunes that fall into a lower BPM range (90-115 BPM). Songs around 100 BPM include "Crazy in Love" by Beyoncé and "Sweet Home Alabama" by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Once you are warmed up, you can increase the tempo. A good moderate walking BPM ranges from 120 to 140. "Move" by Little Mix (120 BPM), "It's My Party" by Jesse J (130 BPM), and "Applause" by Lady Gaga (140 BPM) are great tunes for days when you want to keep your workout moderate.

Experienced walkers may choose to increase to 145 BPM to reach a more brisk pace. For running, you'll want music in the range of 147 to 169 BPM.

More Music Benefits

The music you choose for your walking workout provides other benefits that can help to make your workouts more effective. Costas Karageorghis, PhD, from London’s Brunel University School of Sport and Education, says that music can have a powerful impact.

Costas Karageorghis, PhD

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%.

— Costas Karageorghis, PhD

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

According to the authors of a 2017 study on music and exercise, music "captures attention, triggers a range of emotions, alters or regulates mood, increases work output, heightens arousal, induces states of higher functioning, reduces inhibitions and encourages rhythmic movement."

Finding Music by BPM

Several apps and programs can help you find music based on your goal beats per minute.

  • PaceDJ: 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, the app also has suggested playlists for moderate walks, easy walks, 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 donations.
  • Walk by Jog.fm: This app that allows you to search for and download complete playlists based on BPM.
  • Spotify: Search this paid streaming service for walking, running, or other workout playlists in your desired BPM range.

Walking Music for Playlists

These walking workout music mix recommendations 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.

Genre Album Our Notes
R&B Deborah Cox's "Remixed" Complements a walking speed of 4 mph
Country The Chicks' "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 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 140 and work your way up to 170. This example mix includes folk, country, classic rock, techno, and heavy metal.

  • "Toxic" by Britney Spears (140 BPM)
  • "Don't Be a Girl About It" by Kelly Clarkson (140 BPM)
  • "The Man Who Never Lost" by Maroon 5 (140 BPM)
  • "Sk8r Boi" by Avril Lavigne (150 BPM)
  • "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Miley Cyrus (152 BPM)
  • "Back on the Chain Gang" by The Pretenders (153 BPM)
  • "Hey Ya!" by Outkast (160 BPM)
  • "Gratitude" by The Beastie Boys (161 BPM)
  • "Head Over Feet" by Alanis Morissette (161 BPM)
  • "Boys 'Round Here" by Blake Shelton (170 BPM)
  • "Settle Me Down" by Zac Brown (170 BPM)
  • "I Shot the Sheriff" by Bob Marley (172 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 (120 to 130 beats per minute). It's heavy on '70s and '80s disco.

  • "Hot Stuff" by Donna Summer (120 BPM)
  • "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes (120 BPM)
  • "Don't Stop" by Fleetwood Mac (120 BPM)
  • "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!" by ABBA (120 BPM)
  • "Get Ready for This" by 2 Unlimited (123 BPM)
  • "Get on Your Feet" by Gloria Estefan (124 BPM)
  • "Disturbia" by Rihanna (125 BPM)
  • "Born to be Alive" by Patrick Hernandez (131 BPM)
  • "Gloria" by Laura Branigan (131 BPM)
  • "Jump" by Pointer Sisters (134 BPM)

Other Mixes to Try

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

  • "Wildfire" by Michael Murphey (80 BPM)
  • "Sexual Healing" by Marvin Gaye (94 BPM)
  • "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy (96 BPM)
  • "Pon de Replay (Radio Edit)" by Rihanna (99 BPM)
  • "Bananza (Belly Dancer)" by Akon (105 BPM)
  • "Get Down On It" by Kool & The Gang (110 BPM)
  • "Dr. Feelgood" by Mötley Crüe (110 BPM)
  • "Strokin'" by Clarence Carter (115 BPM)
  • "Don't Cha (Kaskade Radio Edit)" by The Pussycat Dolls & Busta Rhymes (120 BPM)
  • "Black Betty" by Ram Jam (120 BPM)
  • "100% Pure Love" by Crystal Waters (120 BPM)
  • "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" by Trace Adkins (124 BPM)
  • "I Left My Heart In San Francisco" by Tony Bennett (128 BPM)

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

  • "Red Rubber Ball" by Cyrkle (92 BPM)
  • "Magic Carpet Ride" by Steppenwolf (111 BPM)
  • "Centerfold" by J. Geils Band (114 BPM)
  • "Sooner or Later" by The Grass Roots (120 BPM)
  • "Up" by Shania Twain (126 BPM)
  • "Gloria" by Laura Brannigan (131 BPM)
  • "Midnight Confessions" by The Grass Roots (132 BPM)
  • "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" by The Beatles (138 BPM)
  • "Sultans of Swing" by Dire Straits (148 BPM)
  • "All My Loving" by The Beatles (156 BPM)
  • "Walk of Life" by Dire Straits (172 BPM)
  • "Freeze Frame" by J. Geils Band (186 BPM)

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.

4 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Patania VM, Padulo J, Iuliano E, et al. The psychophysiological effects of different tempo music on endurance versus high-intensity performances. Front Psychol. 2020;11:74. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00074

  2. American Council on Exercise. Exploring the effects of music on exercise intensity.

  3. A Healthier Michigan. The science behind the perfect workout playlist.

  4. Thakare AE, Mehrotra R, Singh A. Effect of music tempo on exercise performance and heart rate among young adults. Int J Physiol Pathophysiol Pharmacol. 2017;9(2):35-39. 

By Wendy Bumgardner
Wendy Bumgardner is a freelance writer covering walking and other health and fitness topics and has competed in more than 1,000 walking events.