Classical music is excellent for exercising. You just need to know what to choose. Classical music has a reputation for being “soothing”, and while there are worse things to be known for, that’s definitely not its only characteristic. Like most genres of music, classical has a wide range, from quiet and relaxing to rhythmic, loud, and percussive. A yoga cool-down is not the only time where classical music would be appropriate – there’s a whole lot more you can listen to while you get your move on!
Here are my top five picks of classical music to listen to during your workout.
1. Beethoven’s Waldstein Piano Sonata, 1st movement
For jogging, I found this work an invigorating way to get into moving (as every jog started very reluctantly). This work is brimming with tension and energy. Also, Beethoven really likes to take a melody and expand on it, and develop it, develop it some more, and ….. continue developing it until he was finally ready to wrap it up. By the time Beethoven is done exhausting every aspect of the melody, your jog will be done.
Mari Kodama, piano
2. Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E-
This work is like a musical travelogue – there’s a restlessness to this music, and every time I hear it, I want to get up and pace around, though I don’t because I would disturb the others at the concert hall. Great for a spell on the rowing machine.
Hilary Hahn, violin
3. Bernstein’s Mambo!
Leonard Bernstein composed this exuberant work, and conductor Gustavo Dudamel takes it right off the cliff. This is from a new year’s eve concert too, so everyone in the house is particularly hyper. Mambo is a short work, so if you have to finish off with a sprint this is it.
Gustav Dudamel, conductor
4. Philip Glass’ La Belle & la Bete
This is another work that bristles. This has a dark quality to it, and it will occupy your mind as you head out for your walk or jog. This is a tactic I often use – “distract me as I do my cardio”. The opening reminds me of the theme music for “Downton Abbey”.
Angele Dubeau & La Pieta
5. Yo-Yo Ma Bach cello suite – re-released
I’ve always really, really loved the Bach Cello Suites, and I’ve listened to Yo-Yo Ma’s Sony recording from many years ago, and was delighted to hear he re-recorded them. The cello suites to me are fresh, morning pieces, suitable for walking or a cool-down stretch after your exercise routine. His smile at the start is everything. Have a look – watch this from the safety of your home – and then enjoy the audio when you head out.
Any favourite pieces of classical music for your workout? Let me know.