Let’s face it. We can’t all be gym goers. Memberships are expensive, for one thing. And going on a consistent basis can be difficult, especially for busy parents who don’t have the luxury of taking time away from their family to get a workout in.
When getting to the gym is tough, walking provides a refreshing alternative. It’s free, and you can do it just about anywhere. But to a lot of people, walking can also feel repetitive – especially if doing it on your own. Don’t let boredom disrupt your walking program! When you need something to occupy your mind, podcasts offer a way to learn something new, have a laugh, or simply stay mindful.
Podcasts are audio segments that can be streamed or downloaded to almost any device. They vary widely in both subject matter and length. There are lots of options out there, so you’re sure to find something that can keep your attention. In honor of Texas Walks – a statewide event encouraging Texans everywhere to get outside and walk on November 8 – we’ve taken the time to highlight a few of our favorites, guaranteed to make time fly!
This podcast will teach you everything there is to know about the 5 facets of fitness: movement, recovery, nutrition, mindfulness, and sleep. Each episode is an in-depth interview with an elite athlete or wellness expert that explains the necessity for each of these facets to living a balanced, healthy life. Approx episode length: 30 minutes
You never know what you’re going to learn, only that what you learn is sure to make your next conversation stocked with interesting trivia. Each episode compiles interviews and segments of related Ted Talks to present an intimate look at what it means to be human. Check out the episode titled, “How to Be Better,” to learn more about emotional health as you improve your physical health. Approx episode length: 50 minutes
For any business and/or Shark Tank enthusiasts, famous ‘Shark’ Barbara Corcoran explores the fundamentals of growing a successful enterprise. Corcoran offers what she calls ‘straight talk’ about what it takes to make it in this competitive day and age (hint: ‘street smarts and a lot of courage’). Give her a listen to kindle the flames of your own entrepreneurial spirit. Approx episode length: 20 minutes
Those with children know that it can be hard to a) get them active and b) get them interested in science. But with the help of this podcast, you could do two-in-one. Each episode is jam-packed with fun science facts, presented in a way that is entertaining to kids as well as adults. So take a family walk, and bring this podcast along with you! Approx episode length: 30 minutes
Don’t have much time, but still want to take a stroll? Here is a podcast that will fill that morning work break with a lesson on personal development. Taking the time to learn about yourself will improve your mindset for the rest of the day, and help you to think about the bigger picture rather than grumble about a hectic day at work. What’s not to love? Approx episode length: 10 minutes
Here’s a podcast that will get you hooked on its mystery and suspense, and hopefully on walking as well. Every Wednesday the truth is reconsidered, and what seems simple suddenly looks a lot more complex. Whether you are suspicious in nature or not, this show will have you questioning iconic moments in history, and leave you thinking about it all the way until your next walk. Approx episode length: 40 minutes
All parenting styles are different, but for those who want another perspective on such an intricate and meaningful job, Janet Iansbury is the best in the business. Earning the title of Best Parenting Podcast by The Washington Post and Early Childhood Education Zone, this is a way to find support and ideas about how to be your child’s superhero. Approx episode length: 20 minutes
Do you tend to sip your morning coffee on the sofa while watching the news before leaving for work? Try switching it up a bit by listening to your news while walking. Both will energize you and keep you informed on current events, but only one gets you exercise! There are plenty of other news podcasts if you prefer a different network, however this one is digestible, entertaining, and airs every weekday. Coincidentally, 20 minutes a day/5 days a week sounds like a pretty good walking routine! Approx episode length: 20 minutes
If you’re interested in the health and healthcare landscape of Texas this podcast from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas covers topics from telehealth to how hospitals make money to health issues facing rural communities and everything in between. A few weeks ago, our CEO Amy McGeady was a guest on the show to talk about supporting wellness in schools. Approx episode length: 15 minutes
What about you?
Pro tips for pairing a podcast with your walk:
- Find a walking space that is comfortable and safe. Be sure to always leave one earbud out to stay aware of your surroundings.
- If you are just starting a walking routine, try out a shorter podcast and switch to a longer one after a few weeks when your endurance improves.
- Note the halfway point of the episode so you’ll know when to turn around. For example, for a 20 minute episode you would walk for 10 minutes, then turn around and return in the last 10. This also helps you keep an even walking pace.
About the Author
Kat Shumaker is a sophomore at UT Austin studying Communication and Leadership with a focus in Health Education. As an intern with It’s Time Texas, she aims to help build a culture of health through her words and actions, and believes living healthier is achievable for everyone.