They didn't name it the Sony Walkman for nothing. Many of us enjoy the distraction of listening to music players or radio while walking.
When walking with a friend I enjoy their conversation rather than music. But when walking alone I listen to podcasts, audiobooks, or music specific to walking at my goal pace. I may walk with an audio player or use my cell phone's audio function.
Music has deep effects on the human mood. It can soothe, it can excite, it can depress, it can energize. Choose your walking music to enhance the mood you want to carry with you for the rest of the day. Careful, though, you may appear silly singing along to your headphones as you jaunt along your route - but not as silly as laughing out loud at the talk jock or deejay.
Music Made for WalkingMusic specifically for walking can be found. Some includes tips for good walking form. Others set a beat to match your pace - beginner, intermediate, advanced. Specific pacing tapes for walkers and runners can be found on the web.
Walking Audio PlayersSelecting the right-sized audio player and comfortable earphones are essential. Try a variety of combinations - tiny earphones, lightweight headphones, larger headphones. Try a variety of methods to secure the your audio device - a special tune belt, carrying in a breast pocket, attached to your waist pack belt, etc. Consider the climate and whether you will need a waterproof player or waterproof sleeve for your audio player/cell phone.
Audio Players for Walkers
Are headphones a safety hazard? Public safety folks can always point out people hit by trains while wearing headphones. The common-sensical folks point out that unless you have the volume cranked to a deafening level you should be able to hear the outside environment, and walkers with good form should be walking with chin up and eyes able to spot potential hazards and threats. The sillier folks cautioned against listening to loud flute music while walking in the park lest you end up parading in front of a column of rodents ala the Pied Piper.
Headphones are not allowed at most competitive walking events. Of the racewalkers on the Racewalk mailgroup, some always listened to music or books while training, either to set a pace or to distract from long hours on long trails or circles around the track. A couple were emphatic about listening only to your body or talking to your body to encourage good form.
One walker said the Chinese National Championships played marching music over the PA throughout the 50K. While bracing, it got on the nerves. Marching music may be too much for the march!
FunWalkers sent me titles of songs that include the word Walking or have a theme about walking. See the results:
Walking in Song