Exercising to music is an age-old practice. There’s something about establishing a rhythm with the beat of a drum, a killer bass line that syncopates with your pulse at just the right moment, the rushing crescendo of a dance anthem that’s ready to drop.
That’s why dancing to music seems so natural; great tracks entice a physical response that your body just can’t help but indulge in.
Throughout the years, this rhythm has changed to fit the in-vogue waveforms. Sure, there have been some real clangers, but a sacred few have lived on, ageless, still as relevant in the gym as they’ve ever been. Here are the very best.
70s – “Black Betty” by Ram Jam
Back when rock ’n’ roll reigned supreme, the seventies produced an absolute gem of a song, courtesy of Ram Jam. This fist-pumping rock anthem is actually a cover of an early 20th century work song, the lyrics of which have a somewhat elusive meaning.
No matter – what’s great about this tune is that it has plenty of dynamic shifts, while keeping a fairly consistent 120 beats per minute thereabouts to keep you pumped and excited for the roller coaster guitar solo that emerges after the second minute.
80s – “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor
An anthem of the highest reputation, “Eye of the Tiger” established its eminent stature thanks to the Rocky movies. There’s no pro boxer alive that hasn’t at some point in their career had this knockout song in their training track list. It’s a song that just affirms something about the human spirit.
90s – “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” – by C&C Factory
This is the dance song, emerging fresh at the starting line of the 1990s to blow open the doors of a whole new genre. From the get-go, Martha Wash’s furious vocals throw the song into a whole new dimension of energy, aided by the accented blasts of distorted guitar and a creative drum loop.
This song hit number one in the US, Switzerland, Austria and Germany, and it’s easy to see why. If this doesn’t get you moving, nothing will.
00s – “Call On Me” by Eric Prydz
If there’s one man that truly understands how to market a single, it’s Mr Eric Prydz. Perhaps the success in this song lies in the accompanying music video. It’s set in a gym – great start – in the middle of a workout class, led by a scantily clad Deanne Berry, an Australian beauty, who happens to be bending her way into a variety of coincidentally erotic positions.
With a solid upbeat that just keeps on giving, this track is essential in any aerobics playlist.
10s – “Gangnam Style” by Psy
There’s just something irresistible about this song; that’s why it’s the only video on YouTube that has ever crossed the two billion views barrier. It inspired a global revolution with that cowboy dance, as well as its killer K-Pop drops and oh-so-singable chorus.
Really, though, what makes this song so great to work out to is that it’s an instant pick-me-up mood-wise, delivering a tune that is as tongue-in-cheek as it is blockbuster dance hit.