Even for the most serious walkers, walking alone with your thoughts can cause you to lose focus. Music can help get you in the mood for walking and can help you keep on a solid, steady pace. Listening to music can also prevent thoughts of work, chores, and other stressors bring down your gait and discourage you from walking. Walk your way to mental clarity and more steps by adding your own soundtrack!
Here’s how listening to music can improve your walks.
Music can improve your gait
A catchy, upbeat tune can improve your pace and speed as you work to keep the beat. Music has been found to improve the gait of walkers, keeping them moving longer and farther than they otherwise would. Even walkers with injuries, disabilities or medical conditions show an improved gait and better walks when listening to music! Music can help you to forget you are exercising. Improving your rhythm by listening to music signals the motor area of your brain to help you keep a steady pace that is easier on your body.
Music makes your brain happy
Both exercise and being in a good mood produce natural hormones that make you feel better and allow you to walk longer. Listening to music increases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that activates the pleasure and reward center of the brain. Set your playlist to shuffle and get an unexpected boost when a favorite song comes on! Music also helps you enjoy exercise more. Brain studies have shown that walking to music makes walking more enjoyable, even more so than listening to podcasts.
Music can put you in “the zone”
Having a walking playlist helps you get in the “Zone,” the sought-after state where you feel like you can walk effortlessly at a great pace. The right mix of beats and lyrics can make the world seem to fall away and leave you just walking to the music. When you’re “in the zone,” you’ll be focused, feel great, and be set to get a great walk in. Being focused and in the zone can also help you overcome distractions, nagging thoughts and minor aches and pains that would end your walk early if you weren’t motivated to walk.
How and where to find your music
While runners may go for music with fast beats, walkers may want to choose music that better fits your walking pace. Any genre and style of music can work. Some people swear by fast, energetic workout songs but for longer walks, it may help to choose songs that help you maintain a steadier pace. Try keeping one or two “energy” songs in reserve that will give you a motivation and energy boost if you find yourself starting to run out of energy.
If you don’t have a huge playlist on your phone, there are many free streaming music apps that allow you to listen to your favorite songs while you’re on the move. Apps like Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio and more stream music directly through your phone. Podcasts are also an option if music isn’t for you.
With the right soundtrack behind you, you’ll find you’re walking longer and having more fun without even thinking about it!