iPod Songs for a Successful Workout

Written by Karen Andes

Different types of music can soothe or stress you out.   Download these offbeat selections to your iPod and ride the workout beast.

Music has the power to thrill or kill your workout mood. Because it stimulates the auditory nerve, which is attached to every muscle in the body, it can soothe or wrangle your nervous system.

Pleasing music:
Slows heart rate
Reduces blood pressure
Boosts the immune system
Helps numb pain and elevate mood

Don Campbell writes in The Mozart Effect that pleasing music can slow heart rate, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, release endorphins to numb pain and elevate mood; and change brain waves from the normal beta state to the more inspired theta waves.

Heavy metal, that re-mixed disco stuff they play in aerobics classes, or anything you don't like, raises heart rate and blood pressure and releases adrenaline and other stress hormones into your system.

I teach dance, strength training and yoga and have found that while we over-40 folks love to bring on da funk, other sounds may be healthier. These world selections may inspire you to move without pounding noise into your ears.

Afro Celt Sound System, Volume 1, Sound Magic. This is hot dance, lift and run music. Some tunes begin with mournful Uilleann (Irish) bagpipes, but then the beat comes on like a freight train. Whoa!

Baka Beyond, The Meeting Pool. Celtic meets Cameroonian pygmies, meets the Middle East and it works. It's very pleasing and upbeat for dancing, lifting, running around.

Loreena McKennitt, The Book of Secrets and The Mask and the Mirror. This music comes from the gypsy trail that blends Celtic, Moorish and Middle Eastern. McKennitt switches gracefully from devotion to all-out dance music. You can warm up, dance yourself into a froth, do muscle work, yoga and end in prayer with these CDs.

Professor Trance and the Energizers, Medicine Trance. If you like drumming, get this. It's got six cuts, nothing shorter than 20 minutes of trance-inducing steady rhythms. All suitable for rhythmic lifting and steady trance-dancing.

Anugamo, Shamanic Dream. This is perfect for yoga, tai chi or slo-mo weight lifting, when you want an hour of music at a non-invasive tempo. It's just right for movement-inspired inner voyaging.

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