A new year means a renewed commitment to health and exercise. Nothing gets you pumped for a workout like a fun, upbeat playlist.
These songs will do more than provide a beat for your workout. With lyrics about the rewards of hard work, the American Dream, and why it’s worth the effort to bring about social change, these songs can inspire your workout—or your work day.
Now, political protest songs don’t generally make for a good workout, so you won’t find a lot of those here. However, while most of these song have a positive point of view, some point out shortcomings that call attention to ways that government can its job even better.
There’s something for everyone in this workout playlist, whether you like to exercise to classic rock, funk, hip hop, pop, or dance club remixes. Pick the tunes that best encourage you to work up a sweat. If you want to listen to all the songs in one go, check out the Ultimate Workout Mix for Govies YouTube playlist.
Disclaimer: While singing about social issues that matter, musicians may use lyrics you don’t like. Explicit lyrics may happen.
Always warm up before you exercise. You’ll get the blood flowing to your muscles and raise your body temperature. This lowers the risk for pulled muscles or other injury. Slowly raise your heart rate, stretch, and prime your body for the workout to come.
Nas, “I Can”
I know I can
Be what I wanna be
If I work hard at it
I’ll be where I want to be.
Talking Heads, “Don’t Worry About The Government”
I see the laws made in Washington, D.C.
I think of the ones I consider my favorites
I think of the people that are working for me
Some civil servants are just like my loved ones
They work so hard and they try to be strong
XYLØ, “America (Young Bombs Remix)”
And if the stripes keep us apart
I will write your name up in the stars
Keep myself close to you
Ready? Let’s Sweat!
Curtis Mayfield, “Move On Up (Eric Kupper Vocal Mix)”
So what are we wanna do is move on up for a greater day
But just you gonna make it, you put your mind to it, you can surely do it
Beyoncé, “Move Your Body”
Mysteriously unavailable to download.
Village People, “In the Navy”
Come on, protect the motherland. In the navy.
Come on and join your fellow man. In the navy.
Come on be bold and make a stand. In the navy.
Hamilton the Musical, “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)”
Hey yo, I’m just like my country, I’m young
Scrappy and hungry
And I’m not throwin’ away my shot!
James Brown, “Living in America”
You may not be looking for the promised land,
but you might find it anyway.
Dolly Parton, “9 to 5 (Butch le Butch remix)”
You’re in the same boat
With a lotta your friends
Waitin’ for the day your ship’ll come in
‘N’ the tide’s gonna turn
And it’s all gonna roll your way
MKTO, “American Dream (Luke Warm remix)”
The world is spinning too fast for you and me
So tell me whatever happened to the American Dream
Rihanna, “American Oxygen (DJ Deppe remix)”
Every breath I breathe
Chasin’ this American Dream
We sweat for a nickel and a dime
Turn it into an empire
OneRepublic, “Counting Stars (Mico C remix)”
Lately I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Dreaming about the things that we could be
Lecrae, “Welcome to America (mashup with Kendrick Lamar’s ‘I Love Myself’)”
Mamma told me that I belong here
Had to earn our stripes
Had to learn our rights
Had to fight for a home here
Genesis, “Land of Confusion (Brass Knuckles remix)”
This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth living in.
Kim Wilde, “Kids In America”
There’s a new wave coming I warn you.
We’re the kids in America!
Every workout needs a cool down. It’s important to slow your pace to ease your heartbeat back to normal.
America, “Ventura Highway (Deepsky’s Blizzard In L.A. Remix)”
‘Cause the free wind is blowin’ through your hair
And the days surround your daylight there
Commander Chris Hadfield, “Space Oddity (David Bowie cover)”
For here am I sitting in a tin can far above the world.
Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing left to do.
Sunnyland Slim, “Be Careful How You Vote”
I’m warning you people: be careful how you vote…
He just might let you down.