Wistful Workout: You Know What? Forget It

girl exercising i i
iStockphoto
girl exercising
iStockphoto

Did you know that working out for 15 minutes each day makes you less likely to suffer the effects of depression? I don't, at least not for sure, but it does sound like the sort of statistic you might hear on the news or in an infomercial or something. It's probably something that'd be pretty easy to look up online, but my Internet's down a lot. Let's just say that exercise is good for you, leave it at that, and use the computer to stream these five songs. They're chosen carefully to aid you as you... I don't know, blast those pecs or something, whatever. I don't know, something about glutes?

Okay, you know what? Forget it. You want music to listen to while actually moving? You can find that here and here. This playlist is for when misery gives way to catatonia, but you don't want to gain so much weight that you're stuck moping around on a Rascal-brand motorized cart. Sure, you may not be able to summon the energy to wipe the Pringle dust off your tattered bathrobe, but there are ways to exercise — and there's music to exercise to —­ for even the most motionless of sufferers.

For more entries in our Sweatin' To NPR: Workout Music series, click here.

Wistful Workout: You Know What? Forget It

ironwine cd

Waitin' For A Superman

  • Artist: Iron & Wine
  • Album: Around the Well

The Flaming Lips' "Waitin' for a Superman" has to be one of the most depressing songs ever written: It is, after all, the story of a superhero who fails when he's needed most, and must bear the additional burden of the world's dashed expectations. But the original has a little bit of zing to it -- a spirit snuffed out here by Iron & Wine's Sam Beam. Beam's cover provides the perfect accompaniment to your patented "no-handed push-ups," in which you lie motionless on the carpet, arms stretched impotently at each side. If you can muster the strength, try to lift your palms an inch off the floor, however briefly, each time Beam sings, "It's just too heavy for Superman to lift."

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Waitin' For A Superman
Album
Around the Well
Artist
Iron & Wine
Label
Sub Pop
Released
2009

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stars of the lid cd

Even If You're Never Awake (Deuxième)

  • Artist: Stars of the Lid
  • Album: And Their Refinement of the Decline
  • Song: Even If You're Never Awake (Deuxième)

Did you know that sleep burns calories? That's why you weigh less in the morning than you do at night. (Never mind the fact that you haven't eaten in many hours; that's just propaganda from the Exercise Industrial Complex.) Few pieces of music are better suited to send you floating into slumber than Stars of the Lid and Their Refinement of the Decline, which simulates the effect of something between Vicodin and whatever they use to anesthetize bull elephants. When you wake up 16 or 17 hours later, the calories will have melted away!

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Even If You're Never Awake (Deuxième)
Album
And Their Refinement of the Decline
Artist
Stars of the Lid
Label
Kranky
Released
2007

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nina and jim cd

Our Discussion

  • Artist: Nina Nastasia/Jim White
  • Album: You Follow Me

"Our Discussion" is the sound of utter soul-death: It bears the weight of a shattered relationship's grisly aftermath, punctuated by Jim White's unnervingly arrhythmic drum patterns. It wouldn't get you pumped up enough to lift a Kleenex to your face, let alone set foot in a gym, but did you know that weeping in a fetal position offers a perfect opportunity to crunch those abs? As you unleash a volley of pitiful, spluttering sobs, try to clench your midsection in time with White. You may well be an emotionally battered, bombed-out husk of the person you once were, but at least those love handles are long gone.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Our Discussion
Album
You Follow Me
Artist
Nina Nastasia/Jim White
Label
FTC
Released
2007

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skating club cd

Come By Or Call

  • Artist: Skating Club
  • Album: Bugs & Flowers

Our previous selection, "Our Discussion," looks back in anguish and resignation on a love gone horribly wrong. Once it's over, you'll want to cool off and start anew with Skating Club's lovely "Come By Or Call," which... okay, "Come By Or Call" also looks back in anguish and resignation on a love gone horribly wrong. But, still, you need to diversify your wistful workout! So this time around, you're going to want to take all the pain you've caused -- all the burden you've placed on those you love most -- and concentrate it in your quads. Those are in your legs, right? Okay, if you really concentrate on your quads, you can match your emotional pain with a little bit of the physical kind.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Come By Or Call
Album
Bugs & Flowers
Artist
Skating Club
Label
Wishing Tree
Released
2003

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aden cd

Sadness

  • Artist: Aden
  • Album: Black Cow

Why pay a personal trainer to berate you when you have your own crippling self-doubt? Let the cruel voice in your head belittle you down the path to fitness -- just one more tip to grow on as you close your wistful workout with the defunct D.C. indie-pop band Aden. "Sadness" is your wispy, delicate equivalent of an anthem, summing up your march along the Treadmill To Nowhere with three little words to keep you going: "Sadness will persist." It sure will!

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Sadness
Album
Black Cow
Artist
Aden
Label
Teen Beat Records
Released
2000

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