10 Health Experts Name Their Favorite Workout Songs

Music soothes your soul, helps you unwind, and can even inspire better athletic performance.

With so many benefits, you may wonder what type of tunes your health professionals turn to, whether they're working out or just hanging out. We decided to find out!

Here is what ten health experts listen to and why:

Expert #1: Frank Farrelly, B.Dent.Sc, principal dentist and owner of Darlinghurst dental in Darlinghurst, Australia.

"My favorite song to work out to is 'Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,' by Daft Punk. It was sampled by Kanye West, but the original is best. The rhythm is fast and regular. The lyrics are simple but motivational. I like this to be playing when going for a run," says Farrelly. He adds that his appreciation for music also extends to the workplace. In fact, he even gives patients the option to send their playlist to his office for treatment sessions so they can relax during their dental session.

Expert #2: Jared Heathman, MD, psychiatrist in Houston, Texas.

"'Happy' by Pharrell Williams is a great cardio song to re-energize your spirits when your muscles begin to feel fatigued. Convincing my brain that I am really enjoying the exercise pushes me to extend the run," says Heathman.

Expert #3: Bridgit Dengel Gaspard, LCSW, creativity coach, psychotherapist, and founder of New York City Inner Voice Dialogue Center.

"The song I like to work out to and recommend is Todd Rundgren's 'Bang the Drum All Day.' I dance to this song as part of my home or office workout when I can't get to the gym.

Gaspard thinks the classic has psychological benefits, too: "I recommend the song to my clients when they are trying to work in whatever their form is, (like writing, audition preparation, or compiling taxes, etc.) and find themselves stuck or overcome by lethargy. The song gets you moving and out of your slump-funk."

"My use of the technique called Inner Voice Dialogue, where you engage with different parts of yourself, makes perfect use of the lyrics, ‘I don't want to work, just want to bang on the drum all day,’ as it honors the part of the client who is stuck (and doesn't want to work) by loudly singing what that inner self feels, which is often enough to dis-empower the lethargy. And Todd Rundren's beat is irresistible and gets you moving (and thus, unstuck)."

Expert #4: Justin Sycamore, DDS, a general and cosmetic dentist who runs Sycamore Dental in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

"I love to listen to 'Interstate Love Song' by Stone Temple Pilots when I do yoga. Most dentists have a huge amount of strain on our necks and backs due to our working position. Yoga works to neutralize the strain and increase circulation, balance, and strength. All dentists should do yoga!" Sycamore adds, "I don't like to listen to new age or Zen music. I'm trying to stretch out my back, not achieve inner peace! I grew up in the 90s and I like to rock."

Expert #5: Amy Landolt, LAc, founder of the Northshore Acupuncture Center LLC, in Skokie, Illinois.

My favorite workout song during a Crossfit workout is 'Sugar' by Maroon 5. This song has a motivating beat, and it doesn't hurt to have a visual of [singer] Adam Levine in your mind while working out," Landolt says.

Expert #6: Albert Takem, MD, medical director of Dr. Takem's Weight Loss and Wellness in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

My favorite workout song is 'Kababeleke' by Serge Beynaud. I listen to this while on the treadmill or elliptical machine. I chose this selection because the song is quick-paced. Being on the treadmill and elliptical can be pretty boring, so listening to music that is quick-paced helps with maintaining a good pace."

Expert #7: Mandy Chamberlain, MOTR/L, occupational therapist & founder of SeniorsFlourish.com.

"My favorite song to work out to when I exercise with my older adults is 'A Little Less Conversation' by Elvis Presley. The type of exercise we do is upper body strengthening with therabands [a stretchy band often used for resistance] and weights, focusing especially on the triceps and shoulder to help them get in and out of chairs easier," Chamberlain says. "Why I chose this selection: The older population likes fun, upbeat songs, and the 130 beats per minute helps get them moving! Therapy doesn’t have to be boring."

Expert #8: Alice Williams, a Salt Lake City-based health and fitness blogger at honestlyfitness.com.

"I actually listen to music podcasts and particularly one called the The Ubercast, from an Australian DJ named Uberjakd—it features bounce [a New Orleans-style hip hop] music and I LOVE it for when I workout. The music he features is very upbeat and motivates you to workout hard. There's nothing better than music that is upbeat and fun to listen to when you are doing a hard workout," Williams says.

Expert #9: Shari Portnoy, MPH, RD, CFT, EMT, a registered nutritionist and public health advocate who provides food labeling services and analysis to manufacturers.

"I love the Bruce Springsteen CDs 'Born to Run' and 'Working on a Dream.' The songs are upbeat, and you can sing along so you aren't thinking of the workout. Also, I like to listen to full CDs on my iPod, not just songs. This way I know how long I have been working out; this is especially great for running."

Expert #10: David Hindin, MD, surgery resident in Philadelphia, PA and creator of a new digital magazine about tech and health in medicine.

Internet radio service "Pandora is a big favorite in the OR, since it's more of a 'set it and forget it' type approach than picking any one song," Hindlin says. "Younger surgeons sometimes like indie stations, like Passion Pit radio, et cetera., while some of our older surgeons prefer things like Mel Torme, Nat King Cole, or even (I'm not kidding) Enya. Across the board, the music tends to be something that can blend into the background without becoming obtrusive.

"Music is often played as a way to help focus and stay 'in the zone' while working on a procedure. This is only true for low-acuity, scheduled cases, however. During emergency situations, music is never played,” Hindin hastens to add.

So take a tip from the pros and let music accompany you while you work and exercise.

Albert Takem, MD, reviewed this article.


Chamberlain, Mandy MOTR/L, occupational therapist & founder of SeniorsFlourish.com. Email interview, Dec. 23, 2015.

Dengel Gaspard, Bridgit, LCSW. New York City Inner Voice Dialogue Center, Email interview, Dec. 23, 2015.

Farrelly, Frank, B.Dent.Sc. Darlinghurst Dental. Email interview, Dec. 23, 2015.

Heathman, Jared, MD. Email interview, Dec. 23, 2015.

Hindin, David, MD. Email interview, Dec. 23, 2015.

Landolt, Amy, LAc. Northshore Acupuncture Center LLC. Email interview, Dec. 23, 2015.

Sycamore, Justin DDS. Sycamore Dental. Email interview, Dec. 23, 2015.

Takem, Albert MD. Dr. Takem's Weight Loss. Email interview, Dec. 23, 2015.

Williams, Alice. Honestly Fitness. Email interview, Dec. 23, 2015.

Portnoy, Shari, MPH, RD, CFT, EMT. Food Label Nutrition. Email interview, Dec. 23, 2015.