With spring around the corner, we’re itching to get back outside. Whether it’s solo power walks, leisurely dog walks, or after-dinner strolls, walking boasts some seriously impressive health benefits.
- A new study found that people 20 years of age or older who walked at least 8,000 steps one one or two days of the week were 14.9% less likely to die (over a decade of follow-up) compared to those who were sedentary. What’s more, the mortality risk decreased as the number of days walking increased.
- Brisk walking has been shown to help slow biological aging, with researchers from University of Leicester in the UK finding that a faster walking pace (independent of the amount of physical activity) was associated with longer telomeres, which help protect our chromosomes from damage.
In addition to its health benefits, walking is also one of the most powerful tools we have to help clear the mind — just take travel writer Andrew McCarthy’s word for it (he’s walked the Camino de Santiago, an ancient pilgrimage route through Spain, twice).
Whether you’re in it for the fresh air, the physical health benefits, the mental health benefits, or some combination of all of the above, there’s nothing like a good audiobook or podcast to keep you company.
Below, we’ve rounded up 15 of our team’s favorites: some health-related, others not. Some more serious, others on the light-hearted side. Some long, others short and sweet.
1. Small Things Often
We’re BIG fans of Small Things Often from The Gottman Institute. The episodes are just around 3 minutes long (because who has time for an hour-long podcast?!) and feature game-changing tips for strengthening communication in a long-term relationship.
2. Ten Percent Happier
For host Dan Harris, happiness is a skill you can learn. His podcast features practical teachings on mindfulness and meditation to help make that happen. Special shout-out to this episode on sleep.
3. Circling the Drain
Interested in learning more about perimenopause and what exactly happens to your body during this multi-year transition? Circling the Drain is for you. There’s episodes on everything from CBD to sleep to laughing and peeing at the same time (if you know, you know).
Oh, and shameless plug: Elektra’s very own Laura Stratte, RN and Jackie Giannelli, NP were on the podcast to talk about the lack of adequate perimenopause/menopause care provided (or NOT provided) by most medical teams.
4. All Things Life
Hosted by cognitive psychotherapist Niro Feliciano, All Things Life is focused on open and honest conversations about relationships, marriage, parenting, friendships, anxiety and fear, culture, race, identity, sex, spirituality…essentially anything that has the power to impact who we are how we approach relationships.
5. We Can Do Hard Things
We Can Do Hard Things is the hit podcast hosted by Untamed author Glennon Doyle. She’s joined by her wife, Abby Wambach, and her sister, Amanda Doyle. Together, the three invite guests onto the pod to “drop the fake and talk honestly about the hard.” Episode topics run the gamut from sex talk to heartbreak to therapy lessons — with some familiar names coming on as guests (Michelle Obama! Lily Collins! Jane Fonda! Kamala Harris!).
6. This American Life
This award-winning, long-running podcast has been on the air in some format since 1995. It centers around “entertaining journalism built around a plot” — in other words, storytelling! Diversity is the name of the game here, meaning you’ll find episodes on everything from ghosts to Afrofuturism to Paris.
If curiosity is your MO, Radiolab is for you. A given episode can dive deep into crabs, our society’s stretched and twisted use of the apology, an Israeli couple’s cross-continent quest to have a baby, and so much more. The show is known for its innovative sound design, so don’t be surprised when you hear information smashed into music.
In this North Carolina Public Radio show, host Anita Rao talks about things that are hard to talk about: sex and relationships. There are episodes on vibrators, wellness rabbit holes, sex addiction, and more.
9. The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week
Produced by Popular Science, this podcast focuses on less-well-known science and tech stories. Be prepared to have your mind blown by odd facts — some weird, some fun, all perfect company on your walk. You can even share your weirdest facts and stories in their dedicated Facebook group or Tweet at them!
10. Food, We Need To Talk
This podcast breaks down the science behind our major pillars of health: nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress. It’s informative but not boring…expect a healthy dose of sarcasm and dad jokes.
11. The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story
Written by journalist Douglas Preston, this novel will take you on a wild adventure deep into the Honduran rainforest — expect lost civilizations, hidden wealth, medical mysteries, and dramatic twists of fortune.
12. The Overstory
This fable-like novel follows the adventures of nine Americans (from antebellum-era New York to late-20th century Pacific Northwest) united by their life experiences with trees. Together, they work to address the destruction of forests.
13. The Immortalists
This book follows the lives of four siblings who, growing up in New York City in 1969, visit a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the exact day they’re going to die. From there, the book is split into four sections, following each child throughout their lives and raising questions about the fine line between destiny and choice, agency and fate.
This memoir authored by Glennon Doyle inspired the hit podcast, We Can Do Hard Things. It centers around the joy and sense of peace that we discover when we stop striving to meet others’ expectations for ourselves and instead start trusting the voice within us.
14. Piloting Your Life
In Piloting Your Life, diverse women from around the world share their stories of learning, growing, and thriving through their 40-55 years — a testament to the fact that this period of life is an opportunity, not a “crisis.”