headphones during outdoor excercise?

I’m reading two books at the moment: pragmatic thinking and leaning, and how to think about exercise.

One common topic is outdoor walking and its benefits for both the body and the mind.

The point is to be mindful of the benefits of gentle exercise; to remember that we are doing more than tightening out thighs and calves. We are also loosening our minds, and giving them interesting things to contemplate in this state. In this, exercise can be a break from our customary narrowness.

~ Damon Young – How to Think About Exercise

Young raises an interesting suggestion about headphones:

Tip: try walking without headphones, and with your phone off, or at least in your bag or pocket.

For some reason I have recently started using headphones/music when exercising outdoors. I think it might have been because I’ve been doing a reasonable amount of suburban walking to complement my nature walking, and I find headphones more necessary for suburban walks than nature ones, so I’ve become accustomed to them.

I know Kitty listens to music during her suburban walks and I had a chat to her about this today and there was two main benefits she mentioned: one is she doesn’t get to listen to her own style of music with three young kids ever-present, and two, the right type of music can motivate you to exercise a bit faster/harder.

I went for a nature walk this morning and tried  it without headphones. I must say I noticed I did a lot more right brain thinking and contemplation as I felt more mentally fresh afterwards.

The Powerful Owl Trail in Bardon
The Powerful Owl Trail in Bardon

So I will try to stick to no headphones for nature walks.

I’m still not sure about the suburban walks. I don’t want to be a headphone zombie unsafely walking around suburbia (being struck by trains) but I also don’t find the noise of suburbia as soothing as nature, so maybe headphones are still needed?

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One thought on “headphones during outdoor excercise?”

  1. In my exercise outings I’m often sharing the trail with other cyclists, joggers, people with dogs — so I’m in the habit not using headphones to stay aware of my surroundings in case someone comes up behind me quickly, and I don’t see them or yield correctly on the shared trail. (I don’t like being surprised from behind.)

    When bicycling on shared streets it’s a basic safety measure: if you have loud music you can’t hear approaching cars or sirens as well, though many cyclists I’ve seen put one earbud in and keep the other one out.

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