The 80 Most Popular ‘Oldies’ Workout Songs

As a kid, I hated when my dad turned the dial to the “oldies” station. From the back seat of the car, my brother, sister and I would whine and scream that we didn’t want to listen to his “old people” songs. We made fun of their voices and thought their songs were boring. After all, it was strikingly different from the Madonna and New Kids On The Block Songs we listened to with our friends (I’m really showing my age now, right?).
Now that I’m older, I’m glad I got the “music education” from my dad that I did. Now I know that the “old” songs he used to love listening to are some of the best songs ever made, by the best singers and groups in history. And I’m glad I know them. These days, when these retro songs come on, I don’t jump to change the channel. I tune in, bopping my head and sing along. Because, thanks to him, I know all the words. These songs make occasional appearances in my workout playlists these days, too—both when I run and when I teach Spinning. Why? Because they’re FUN. And if you love listening, exercising or just plain boogying to “oldies,” have I got the playlist for you!
But this isn’t just any list. While it includes some of the best rock ‘n roll hits from the ’50s and ’60s you can think of, these are the 80 most upbeat oldies tracks for exercising. I shared the list with members of SparkPeople.com, America’s largest online community of dieters and exercisers, and got them to vote on their favorites so we could name the absolute BEST workout songs from the ’90s. (Can you guess which took the No. 1 spot?)
Based on your votes, we have even created a 60-minute continuous cardio remix playlist of the top 15 songs! You can get the playlist on iTunes for $9.99, or on amazon.com for just $8.99!
Forget record players and juke boxes. You can fill your mp3 player or iPod with these dozens of these oldies tunes next time you work out for a fun, fit blast from the past.
The Top-Ranked Oldies Workout Song:
Aretha Franklin – Respect (1967)
No. 2: Steppenwolf – Born to Be Wild (1967)
No. 3: The Monkees – I’m a Believer (1966)
No. 4: Martha & the Vandellas – Dancing in the Street (1964)
No. 5: The Kinks – You Really Got Me (1964)
No. 6: Elvis Presley – Jailhouse Rock (1957)
No. 7: Rolling Stones – Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1968)
No. 8: Tommy James & The Shondells – Mony Mony (1968)
No. 9: The Beach Boys – Surfin’ USA (1963)
No. 10: Foundations — Build Me Up Buttercup (1968)
No. 11: Chuck Berry – Johnny B. Goode (1958)
No. 12: Led Zepplin – Whole Lotta Love (1969)
No. 13: Rolling Stones — Paint It Black (1966)
No. 14: The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations (1966)
No. 15: Chubby Checker – Let’s Twist Again (1961)
Download SparkPeople’s 132-BPM 60-minute continuous cardio remix of the 15 most popular workout songs of the ’50s and ’60 on iTunes for $9.99, or on amazon.com for $8.99!
Here’s the rest of the list (in alphabetic order). Click on each link to listen to a preview (or purchase the mp3) at amazon.com.

  1. Barrett Strong — Money (That’s What I Want) (1959)
  2. The Beach Boys — Barbara Ann (1965)
  3. The Beach Boys — Fun, Fun, Fun (1964)
  4. The Beach Boys — I Get Around (1964)
  5. The Beatles — Back In The U.S.S.R. (1968)
  6. The Beatles — Helter Skelter (1968)
  7. The Beatles — I Saw Her Standing There (1963)
  8. The Beatles — Roll Over Beethoven (1963)
  9. Big Joe Turner — Shake, Rattle And Roll (1954)
  10. Bill Haley & His Comets — Rock Around The Clock (1954)
  11. Bobby Darin — Splish Splash (1958)
  12. Bobby Freeman — Do You Want To Dance? (1958)
  13. Cannibal and the Headhunters — Land Of 1,000 Dances (1965)
  14. Champs — Tequila (1958)
  15. Chris Kenner — I Like It Like That (1961)
  16. Chubby Checker — Pony Time (1961)
  17. Chubby Checker — The Twist (1960)
  18. Chuck Berry — Rock And Roll Music (1957)
  19. The Coasters — Charlie Brown (1959)
  20. The Coasters — Poison Ivy (1959)
  21. The Coasters — Yakety Yak (1958)
  22. The Contours — Do You Love Me? (1962)
  23. Creedence Clearwater Revival — Fortunate Son (1969)
  24. Dion — Runaround Sue (1961)
  25. Elmore James — Shake Your Moneymaker (1961)
  26. Elvis Presley — Blue Suede Shoes (1956)
  27. Elvis Presley — Hound Dog (1956)
  28. Ernie Maresca — Shout! Shout! (Knock Yourself Out) (1962)
  29. Etta James — Good Rockin’ Daddy (1955)
  30. Fats Domino — I’m Walkin’ (1957)
  31. Fats Domino — Jambalaya (1961)
  32. Fontella Bass — Rescue Me (1965)
  33. Ike and Tina Turner — River Deep, Mountain High (1966)
  34. Jackie Wilson — (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher And Higher (1967)
  35. Jackson 5 — I Want You Back (1969)
  36. James Brown — Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag (1965)
  37. Jerry Lee Lewis — Great Balls Of Fire (1957)
  38. Jerry Lee Lewis — Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On (1957)
  39. Jimi Hendrix — Purple Haze (1967)
  40. Jimi Hendrix — Voodoo Child (Slight Return) (1968)
  41. Johnny Otis Show — Willie And The Hand Jive (1958)
  42. The Isley Brothers — It’s Your Thing (1969)
  43. The Isley Brothers — Shout! (1959)
  44. The Isley Brothers — Twist And Shout (1962)
  45. The Kinks — All Day And All Of The Night (1964)
  46. Larry Williams — Dizzy Miss Lizzy (1958)
  47. Little Junior’s Blue Flame — Feelin’ Good (1953)
  48. Little Richard — Good Golly Miss Molly (1958)
  49. Little Richard — Long Tall Sally (1956)
  50. Little Richard — Tutti-Frutti (1955)
  51. Martha & the Vandellas — Heat Wave (1963)
  52. Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell — Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1967)
  53. Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels — Devil With A Blue Dress On (1966)
  54. Otis Redding — Try A Little Tenderness (1966)
  55. Ray Charles — Hit The Road, Jack (1961)
  56. Ray Charles — I’ve Got A Woman (1954)
  57. Ray Charles — Mess Around (1953)
  58. Rolling Stones — (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (1965)
  59. Shirley Gunter & Queens — Oop Shoop (1954)
  60. Sly & The Family Stone — Dance To The Music (1967)
  61. Smokey Robinson & The Miracles — The Tears Of A Clown (1967)
  62. Steppenwolf — Magic Carpet Ride (1968)
  63. Stevie Wonder — Uptight (Everything’s Alright) (1965)
  64. The Strangeloves — I Want Candy (1965)
  65. Surfaris — Wipe Out (1962)
  66. The Temptations — Ain’t Too Proud To Beg (1966)

What do you think of the list? Any other workout-worthy oldies you’d like to add?

Enjoy the SilverSneakers store!


Music. It can elicit a variety of emotions and actions. It can make you laugh, cry, fall asleep, reminisce or inspire you to shake your tail feather. To motivate people to move (and have a blast at the same time!), you’ll need the perfect mix of workout songs for your group fitness class playlist.

Enjoy these suggestions for creating the perfect workout playlist for seniors — they are a compilation of recommendations from group fitness instructors, active older adults and the author herself.

HINT: The BPM, or beats per minute, can help you with playlist placement: warm-ups and cool downs typically would have a slower BPM, while songs at the climax of your workout will have a higher BPM.

The perfect workout songs for your group fitness class music playlist

169 BPM: “Take on Me” by A-Ha – author recommended

160 BPM: “Happy” by Pharrell – Karin Amour, SilverSneakers Facebook fan

148 BPM: “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker – Laura Olinger, SilverSneakers Classic instructor

136 BPM: “Little Deuce Coupe” by Beach Boys – author recommended

135 BPM: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar – Helen Wala Morris, SilverSneakers Facebook fan

130 BPM: “Heartbeat” by Enrique Iglesias ft. Nicole Sherzinger – author recommended

128 BPM: “Stand by Me” by Prince Royce – Marquita Trenier Wiley, Zumba Gold instructor

128 BPM: “Walking on Air” by Katy Perry – author recommended

127 BPM: “Waka Waka” by Shakira – Gale Basco Gibbons, Zumba Gold instructor

124 BPM: “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John – author recommended

122 BPM: “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge – Jack Hansel, Strength and Balance instructor

Adds Jack: “I like 60s rock and roll type stuff for good energy beats.”

120 BPM: “DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love” by Usher ft. Pitbull – author recommended

Mary Sifuentes, SilverSneakers Facebook fan: “So many Zumba songs or Pitbull.”

115 BPM: “Wings” by Little Mix – author recommended

115 BPM: “Feeling Good” by Michael Buble – Jennifer Beemer, Zumba Gold instructor

114 BPM: “A Little Less Conversation” by Elvis Presley – Joan Ginest, SilverSneakers Facebook fan

110 BPM: “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett – Louisa Dexter and Toni Laramie Bergeron, SilverSneakers Facebook fans

109 BPM: “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor – Patrick Collins and Claudia Drobner Mills, SilverSneakers Facebook fans

101 BPM: “Dancing Queen” by Abba – author recommended

87 BPM: “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins – author recommended

Elizabeth McNeil, Yoga instructor: “ Om Guitar by Steven McNamara. Acoustic for Chair Yoga. Light and ambient. My folks love it.”

85 BPM: “Vocalise” by Rachmaninoff – Melanie Moon, Walking instructor

Tami Sauer, Strength and Balance instructor: “Love Enya and Jim Brickman for relaxation, stretch, and Yoga portions of class.”

81 BPM: “Ride Sally Ride” by Lou Reed – Susan Annunziata, SilverSneakers Circuit instructor

77 BPM: “Mambo Italiano” by Dean Martin – Pilar Paulmeno, Zumba Gold instructor

Adds Pilar: “Two favorites are ‘Mambo Italiano’ for warm-up, and ‘Banana Boat’ for cool-down.”

Want to check the BPM for your songs? Click here: http://songbpm.com

The Top 10 Workout Songs from the 1960s

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Like many polls, this attempt to find the best workout songs of the ’60s turned up a lot obvious choices and a few surprises. In the former category, you’ll find radio staples like The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” and Tommy James & The Shondells’ “Mony Mony.” A few tracks you might not have expected include a slow (but aptly-named) workout song by Ray Charles, a cover tune by The Beatles, and a smash hit from The Jackson 5.

Here’s the full list, based on votes placed at RunHundred.com.

The Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) – 127 BPM

The Rolling Stones – (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction – 136 BPM

The Beatles – Twist and Shout – 129 BPM

Ray Charles – Hit The Road, Jack – 86 BPM

Jackson 5 – I Want You Back – 98 BPM

The Surfaris – Wipe Out – 160 BPM

Steppenwolf – Magic Carpet Ride – 111 BPM

Aretha Franklin – Respect – 116 BPM

The Supremes – You Keep Me Hangin’ On – 128 BPM

Tommy James & The Shondells – Mony Mony – 130 BPM

To find more workout songs, check out the free database at Run Hundred. You can browse by genre, tempo, and era to find the best songs to rock your workout.

  • By Chris Lawhorn

Our workouts have come a long way since “The Twist,” but that doesn’t mean those super-old school tunes aren’t worth cranking up when you hit the gym.

To create the ultimate workout playlist of all time we asked Women’s Health Twitter followers to vote for their favorite sweaty jams from each decade, and the results were pretty interesting.

RELATED: The Workout That’ll Make You Feel Like a Gym Class Hero

In a win that will surprise pretty much no one, the Spice Girls’ ’90s hit, “Wannabe,” trumped the Backstreet Boys and Kriss Kross. It’s official, girls rule.

@WomensHealthMag spice girls of ciurse!! How is that even a question?! 😉

— Holly (@MrsReubin) March 16, 2016

For the early 2000s, “Get Ur Freak On” by Missy Elliot took home first place and current national treasure Ariana Grande beat Macklemore and Beyoncé with “Bang Bang.”

So there you have it, the best tunes to work it toof all time. Now, pin this playlist and hop in your sweaty time machine!

Alyssa Zolna

RELATED: The Perfect #TBT Workout Playlist

Ashley Oerman Deputy Lifestyle Director Ashley Oerman is the deputy lifestyle director at Cosmopolitan, covering fitness, health, food, cocktails, home, and entertainment.

Workout music for seniors

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