I Got the Music in Me

[If you are looking at this as its individual page, I am happy to say I have been running in each place in the photo above!]

I have a mild, functional addiction to music. To be sure, I am no expert; I don’t play an instrument, I can’t sing a note, and I have not This One's for You (Barry Manilow album)been educated to speak intelligently about  music. But looking back, music was a major part of my youth. My parents always had the radio or record player going, and the background to my younger years included Barry Manilow, Neil Sedaka and Tony Orlando and Dawn. I was raised during the cassette tape

era, and had tapes of the En Vogue, The Beatles and Lesley Gore in the tiny boombox that served as my car radio in my first vehicle, a hatchback Pinto. (As you can tell, my tastes were always a bit varied…yes, some may say horrible.) Then the digital

age dawned, and for someone like me, iTunes was the best invention since indoor plumbing! I could buy one song from a 70’s country album, a top 20 hit and a 80’s novelty rap song, where before, I would need to buy 3 tapes or CD’s. I was much freer to let me musical-freak flag fly! Then, there is the “Playlist.” The ability to group songs in whatever order I wanted fit great with my soundtrack way of thinking about my life. My first iPod playlist was for working out, and I have gone through several versions of both iPods and workout playlists. But I didn’t stop there! I have summer and winter playlists (one of my old iPods is filled with all my Christmas music alone!) and I have made Disney, (duh!) New York, Mexico and Boston playlists to correspond with trips I have taken. I am a casual collector, and even have music from France, the Czech Republic and Latin music, whose lyrics I obviously don’t even understand!

WHY is this relevant?! For two reasons, actually. First, the Grammys are approaching, which is the one awards show I will not miss! Yes, the Oscars are great, but the Grammys have great performances, often with great duets tributes, and its a great place to do some music exploration and wish-list writing! Second, as I am trying to treat my seasonal affective disorder and am preparing for another winter storm, I have had to use my music as therapy. So I thought I’d share some ideas on getting through some of those winter workouts, whether you are outside or plodding away on a treadmill in the gym for the hundredth time this winter.

Try these ideas to freshen up your workouts while you are waiting for warmer DSC00028temperatures to return:
1. Summer Oldies: While the term “oldie” depends on your age, you can modify this to fit your needs. Options? They are limitless! Just search the internet or your favorite music site for your decade and “summer music.” If you are like me, you’ll quickly fall down the rabbit hole of musical memories. Just a tiny fraction of what’s out there:

  • 50’s: The Drifters, The Coasters
  • 60’s: “Summer in the City,” “Wipe out,” the Beach Boys, “Brown eyed Girl,” Jan and Dean, Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini
  • 70’s: “Rock the Boat,” “Summertime,” the Grease Soundtrack, “Saturday in the Park,” Simon and GarfunkelDSC00790
  • 80’s: “Cruel Summer,” “Boys of Summer,” “Summer of 69,” “Playing with the Boys,” “Walking on Sunshine”
  • 90’s: “Summertime,” “Every Morning,” “Summer Girls,” “Miami” “The Way”DSCN2688

2. Location Genre: Did you have a memorable summer vacation to the Caribbean, Italy or Mexico? Get your hands on some of the local music (Steel drum or Reggae, for example) to take you back to the happy, warm, fun times as you let your mind wander while your body is working out.

3. Free or Low-cost: If you would like to spend little to no money as you explore your options, try an individualized music site like Pandora or i Heart Radio, or, if you work out at home, check out your cable music channels for some variety.

4. Non-music Options: If you aren’t a music junkie, there are other ways to escape the winter blues. First, you can read books (fiction or non-fiction, digital or old-fashioned pages) or magazines that have travel themes. Second, if you have a television near where you work out, try watching one of the many travel shows and documentaries for some great escapism.

It would be great if each workout found us completely motivated and focused, but one of the reasons some people enjoy their workouts is because they can have some mental “alone time,” and let their mind wander. It often makes the time go faster, and can leave you relaxed as well as sweaty. Also, like a new pair of running shoes or a new workout outfit, you can look forward to listening to your new soundtrack, which might give you a bit more motivation to get that workout in! So for those tough-to-get-through workouts (which happen for me mostly in February and March,) use that time to reflect on warmer days, and to get in shape for the ones to come.

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