When fitness instructor Shirley Archer plays Annie Lennox’s song “17 Again” for her indoor cycling class, she urges students to connect with the vitality of their inner 17-year-old legs.

When she teaches yoga she rolls out the harp solos.

Experts say exercising to the proper music can boost your mood, kick your workout up a notch and channel the energy of a younger you.

“Fitness playlists are extremely important,” said Archer, who is also a spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise. “A number of studies show that music can impact mood, emotions, energy levels, even breathing and heart rates.”

Archer, author of 12 books on fitness and wellness, including “Fitness 9 to 5,” said the research comes from music therapy, sports, surgical recovery and gait training studies for people with neurodegenerative issues.

“Music is powerful because it stimulates different neural pathways in the brain and taps powerfully into our emotions and our memories,” said Archer, who lives in Singer Island, Florida, and Zurich, Switzerland. Not only can music help people power through workouts, she said, it can distract them from boredom, fatigue and discomfort.

“Think about how people who are middle-aged or older find their dancing feet when they hear tunes that were popular when they were in their teens or early 20s,” she said.

Also a powerful tool for relaxation, music can help to slow and calm heart and breathing rates, reduce stress and evoke feelings of peace and balance.

A good fitness playlist will match the workout objectives, Archer said. An aerobic workout should start out with uplifting music at a tempo of about 130 BPM (beats per minute) and build to around 150 BPM.

“Studies show that this is a moderate aerobic pace for most people,” she said. “Think of the tunes ‘Stayin’ Alive,’ ‘9 to 5’ or Justin Timberlake’s ‘Rock Your Body.'”

Toward the end of the workout, she said, the pace should slow again.

Check out our music monday archives and spice up your playlist!

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