A new study has revealed which Christmas songs appear most frequently across festive workout playlists, with Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas taking the top spot.
I recently spoke with the fitness Equipment experts over at Mirafit who analysed 2,899 Spotify playlists related to festive workouts – which consisted of a huge 374,841 songs – to find out which seasonal tracks people find the most motivating for getting their endorphins flowing at this time of year.
The study also revealed which holiday songs are actually the most beneficial for busting the bloat and helping you to feel your best over the festive season – and it’s good news for Taylor Swift fans.
When it comes to which tracks appear most frequently, the data found that Mariah Carey’s classic All I Want for Christmas Is You snaps up the number one spot as the most popular gym song, appearing in 1,550 playlists analysed.
In second place is Ariana Grande’s Christmas pop hit, Santa Tell Me, which appears in 948 festive playlists, and Wham’s Last Christmas rounds out the top three with 940 playlist appearances.
The ten tracks that appear most frequently in festive playlists
|All I want for Christmas Is You
|Santa Tell Me
|Underneath the Tree
|Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
|It’s Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas
|Holly Jolly Christmas
|It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
|Jingle Bell Rock
However, the guys at Mirafit also analysed the BPM (beats per minute) of each of these tracks, and it turns out these festive favourites aren’t the best for achieving your winter fitness goals.
According to the experts, the BPM of music we listen to when working out can have an impact on our productivity, as they say: “Music is a great tool to use to enhance our workouts as it can keep us motivated to push through to the end of our sessions.
“Christmas tunes are especially great for this due to their typically cheery, upbeat sound, which can give the energy boost needed for our winter workouts.
“However, the pace of the music we listen to can affect the pace at which we exercise. The tempo of the songs can influence our rhythm and motivation, so it is key to curate the right playlists for how you choose to work out.”
All the festive favourites can have a place in your workout regime, but slower tempos may not be suitable for HIIT workouts or weightlifting, and upbeat tunes may be misplaced when trying to practice yoga.
With that in mind, the experts also revealed which festive songs are best for various exercises, revealing the following recommendations:
- Cardio – Christmas Tree Farm, Taylor Swift (134 BPM)
- Weightlifting – All I Want for Christmas Is You, Mariah Carey (150 BPM)
- HIIT Workouts – Santa Tell Me, Ariana Grande (192 BPM)
- Pilates – Fairytale of New York, The Pogues (78 BPM)
The Best Tracks for Cardio = 120-140 BPM
The experts say: “One of the best forms of exercise to help us feel our best time of year is cardio. The increased blood flow and movement can help reduce bloating and sluggishness, which the indulgence of Christmas and cold winter days can leave us feeling.”
Around 120-140 BPM would be optimal for jogging, a brisk walk, or a spin session to keep your pace on track.
This would be the best chance to listen to Christmas classics like Jingle Bell Rock (120 BPM, 446 appearances in Spotify playlists), Little Saint Nick (131 BPM, 355 appearances) or Taylor Swift’s hit, Christmas Tree Farm (134 BPM, 310 appearances).
The Best Tracks for Weightlifting = 130-150 BPM
If weightlifting or strength training is your preferred way of exercising, a slightly higher BPM of around 130-150 would be beneficial to increase motivation to push through sets and keep energy levels high on breaks.
This is where Mariah’s All I Want for Christmas Is You (150 BPM, 1550 appearances in Spotify playlists) may be best placed alongside Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! (134 BPM, 346 appearances) and The Jackson 5’s Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (147 BPM, 331 appearances).
The Best Tracks for HIIT = 140-180+ BPM
For high-intensity interval training, it is also key to have a fast tempo in the music we listen to, to maintain high energy levels.
Pop hits such as Ariana Grande’s Santa Tell Me (192 BPM, 948 appearances) or Kelly Clarkson’s Underneath the Tree (160 BPM, 921 appearances) are perfect picks if you want to challenge yourself ahead of donning your Christmas partywear.
The Best Tracks for Yoga/ Pilates/ Cool Down = <60-90 BPM
In terms of the most effective forms of exercise for the festive season, the experts at Mirafit also noted: “Alongside exercises that raise our heart rate, slower-paced, body-strength-related practices such as yoga or pilates can also be helpful tools to reduce bloating ahead of any festive party.
“These practices can increase blood flow, help to relieve symptoms of upset digestion, and even help to boost energy.”
However, the slower-paced movement can also benefit from slower-paced music to focus and calm your mind.
As found by the study, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree (67 BPM, 858 appearances), Nat King Cole’s, The Christmas Song (79 BPM, 261 appearances), and Fairytale of New York (78 BPM, 154 appearances) can all provide the cosy, festive feels required for the most effective practice.