Listening to music, audiobooks and podcasts can keep you company during long walks, help you walk longer and faster and get you more steps. For many, the ideal walk is a relaxing time spent outdoors with birds chirping and the sound of the breeze in the trees. The reality, however, is that sometimes there’s nothing but honking car horns or the sound of your feet on the treadmill to listen to.
Many people listen to music to solve this problem. If you’re looking for something new to motivate you, try these fun alternatives to music that will keep you company during your walks and keep your feet moving.
Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are digital audio files released as a series of episodes that you can download to your phone, computer or other devices. They’re a bit like talk radio shows that you can save and play when you want. Podcasts are usually released one episode at a time on a regular basis, and there is an endless variety of topics and shows to choose from. Though the term “podcast” makes them seem like they’re only for Apple devices, podcasts are available on almost any platform with the help of a podcatcher app.
Most podcasts are totally free and can be downloaded onto almost any phone or portable music player. There are so many podcasts available that you could listen all day long, every day and still not run out of fresh, free content!
Here are 10 great podcasts you can listen to while walking. Check them out!
Many TV and radio programs (often talk shows or news and commentary shows) are also released in podcast form. This allows you to listen to your favorite show while you’re getting your steps in. There are also podcasts discussing popular TV shows and almost every sports team – often commenting on the latest shows or games right after they happen. You’ll definitely be able to find a podcast that’s topical and fits your interests. It can help to try to match the length of your podcasts to your typical walking time, or you’re taking short walks you can speed up the playback to get finished faster.
You can listen to podcasts using iTunes, the most famous podcast service. There are also a host of other apps to choose from, like Stitcher and Pocket Casts. Search your app store for “podcatcher” and you’ll come up with dozens of options. Many podcatcher apps can also stream music but may charge a monthly fee or charge to download the app. Many, including iTunes, are free so be sure to check out the options for features and pricing before you choose one. You can find podcasts on almost any subject you’re interested in, but a few to help you get started include:
- Dr. Fitness and the Fat Guy, a fun and inspiring look at getting healthier and becoming more active, covering topics like new diet books, fitness fads, and quick strength training workouts
- Half Size Me, host Heather, who lost over 130 pounds, talks weight loss success stories and healthy lifestyles with various guests
Learn something new!
- Stuff You Should Know, an offshoot of the How Stuff Works website offering a fascinating education on how everyday things work
- TED Radio Hour, NPR takes a topic and offers insight from various TED talks on the subject (NPR has a tremendous number of other interesting and educational podcasts, as well)
Listen to audiobooks
Want to read more AND walk more at the same time? Try listening to an audiobook! You might find yourself walking even further than you planned in order to finish a chapter. Another quick search on your app store for “audiobooks” will return plenty of apps that provide access to audiobooks. You can download audiobooks to almost any phone or portable music player, so you won’t have to worry about streaming the file using your mobile data.
Audiobooks are read by a professional narrator, or sometimes even the author. Listening to an audiobook is a somewhat different experience compared to reading a physical book, but a good narrator can make your book more interesting and easier to get through. You can check an audiobook’s reviews to see how good the narrator (and the book) is before you buy. Fiction books may be more of a performance, with a narrator doing multiple voices for each of the characters. Good narrators may vary their accent or speech patterns to even quote people in non-fiction, which can make for an interesting listen. Best yet, if your favorite author reads their own book (typically non-fiction, self-help or a memoir), you can hear the emphasis that put on different subjects as they speak.
Where to find audiobooks
Audible is one of the most well-known audiobook providers. It allows you to simply purchase a book directly or subscribe to its service for discounts and free monthly book downloads. Their library is connected to Amazon, giving you access to thousands of books. Two other apps to look into are OverDrive and Hoopla, both of which give you access to audiobooks that you can check out with a library card from your local library. These two apps are free and borrowing books from your local library is probably free as well. You may be limited to what’s available at your library and may have to wait if something is “checked out,” however. You’ll also need to verify whether your library supports either of these apps, but they’re useful to look into. Almost all popular books both current and classic are produced as audiobook versions. No matter what genre or author you like to read, you are likely to find it available in this format.
When you need something to freshen up your routine and help you keep moving, give podcasts or audiobooks a try. If you find one you really like, consider saving it to only listen to while you walk. That’ll help make you even more motivated to lace up those shoes and get your 10,000 steps (or whatever your goal may be) every day!
If you haven’t downloaded the Pacer app yet, download Pacer for free (on mobile)! You can also check out our website (mobile or desktop) or follow our blog for more great walking and healthy lifestyle tips.