How to Create the Perfect Workout Playlist

One of your best, most motivating workout tools is your playlist. But what do you do when you've heard those tunes one time too many?

It's hard enough to find time to exercise, not to mention time to research and download new music to keep your workout fresh.

We've got great ideas for finding perfect playlists to keep your workout pumping.

Why workout to music? Experts say music motivates you to exercise more often, longer, and harder and helps you have more fun while you're at it. It distracts you and improves your focus. When you feel like you just can't lift one more weight or run one more block, your favorite song comes on and you find the juice to keep on going.

The key to picking great workout music is to choose songs with an upbeat tempo and a drumbeat that matches your target heart rate. For example, if you want to get your heart rate elevated between 120 and 140 beats per minute, pick songs with a super-fast pace. Rihanna's "Only Girl (In the World)" pounds out about 128 beats per minute. Or, pick several songs that match how long you want to exercise. For example, Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days Are Over" runs just over four minutes. Choose 10 songs that length and you've got a 40-minute playlist.

Jog.FM lets you plug in your sport, target heart rate, how fast you run, how long you want to exercise, and other factors to help you select a perfect play list. You don't have to be exact about the numbers, of course, but setting a goal and matching it with the perfect music is fun.

If you don't want to create your playlist song by song and you're excited to hear new artists, Pandora and LastFM create personalized radio stations based on your musical tastes. For example, you can create a station based on The Rolling Stones, LCD Soundsystem, Jay-Z, or Katy Perry and these sites will play a never-ending list of similar artists. All you have to do is open the site, plug in your favorite artist or album, pop on your headphones, and start exercising.

If you already have a hefty iTunes musical library, you can activate the Genius in your iTunes account to automatically create playlists from the music you already own. Right-click any song in your library and click "Start Genius" from the pop-up menu. Picking any song you know gets you out of your chair and dancing around your office. Let Genius choose the rest.

You can also download playlists from or go to the online version of your favorite fitness magazine to find your perfect workout music. Whatever your era, genre, or style, there's a tune and a beat that's guaranteed to keep you moving, mile after mile, rep after rep, and day after day.