Walking to the Beat of the Music

Walking to Music
Walking to Music. JGI/Jamie Grill/Blend Images/Getty

They didn't name it the Sony Walkman for nothing. Many of us enjoy the distraction of listening to music 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.

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 or laughing out loud as you jaunt along your route.

Got Your Ears On?

Music is good for walking, and if you're walking on a treadmill you are safe in blocking out everything else. But if you are walking outdoors you also need to be able to hear what is going on around you to be alert for any safety hazards. Select headphones or earphones that allow in ambient sound. Bluetooth designs cost more but eliminate the annoying wire connecting to your mobile phone or audio device. Look for sport-friendly designs that can take the sweat without shorting out.

Music Made for Walking

Music specifically made for walking can be found. Some includes tips for good walking form. Others set a beat to match your pace - beginner, intermediate, advanced. You can find workout mix downloads for specific paces. Even better - you can use an app such as PaceDJ to search through your music for songs that match your desired pace.

Walking Audio Players

In the olden days we took along our tunes on a variety of different audio players, not just our mobile phones. I continue to like the tiny iPod shuffle for my music mix during half marathons. I can keep my mobile phone secure in my pack.

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.


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!


Walkers sent me titles of songs that include the word Walking or have a theme about walking. See the results:
Walking in Song

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