Over the last year, you've probably done your fair share of walking around the block. After all, during the pandemic, amid stay-at-home order and lockdowns, walking—alone, with family, with friends—became one of the best ways outlets for stress-free exercise, mental clarity, and a much-needed change of scenery. But merely walking the same loop over and over again may be getting old. That's why you should consider listening to a fabulous podcast while you walk.
While getting in your steps, you can download a podcast episode or two to catch up on the news, take a deep-dive into pop culture, learn a thing or two about history, or even raise your heart rate just a little bit more with a true-crime thriller. Here are a few podcasts to add to your library that will have you walking even further just so you can finish the episode.
For surprising conversations: Armchair Expert
Dax Shepherd has really grown up since his days acting as Ashton Kutcher’s sidekick on Punk’d. Now, the actor, father, and husband spends most of his time on his weekly podcast, Armchair Expert, where he brings in scientists, celebrities, politicians, and more for super in-depth and thoughtful conversations. Listen in as they discuss the “messiness of being a human'' on your next walk.
For self-improvement: Happier
Gretchen Rubin is on a mission to make everyone just a tiny bit happier. As the author behind The Happiness Project, Rubin is a tried-and-true happiness expert who, along with her Happier podcast co-host Elizabeth Craft, helps teach people small but meaningful ways to find more happiness in their day-to-day routines. This pod has some exceptionally great episodes on improving our mid-pandemic lives that are worth a listen while you stroll.
For a classic radio experience: This American Life
Long before podcasts became all the rage, This American Life mastered the art of audio storytelling. Since 1995, Ira Glass has taken listeners on a journey through different aspects of American life, including nostalgia-inducing episodes on summer camps, small-town high schools, celebrity interviews, and more. It can feel overwhelming to dive into this podcast at first since there are, after all, more than 700 episodes to choose from. Try listening to its staff-recommended episodes over your next few walks around the neighborhood.
For intimate, personal confessions: Death, Sex & Money
Get ready for some real talk. The Death, Sex & Money podcast, hosted by Anna Sale, is for all those conversations you were told to never bring up at the dinner table. From pandemic dating to the death penalty, sexual identity to addiction, this podcast is a one-stop-shop for everything deliciously taboo—but perfectly packaged in tight, fascinating interviews—which makes it perfect for a solo walk with your headphones in.
For true crime lovers: Dr. Death
The true-crime genre helped put podcasts back on the map (hello, Serial), and Dr. Death from The Wondry takes it to new heights. Hosted by journalist Laura Beil, this gripping series lifts the lid on some very, very bad doctors and unveils more “about a medical system that failed to protect these patients at every possible turn.” (Trigger warning for anyone squeamish, scheduled for an upcoming surgery, or with a hospital phobia.) But the story isn’t all bad news. Beil also uncovers what we can learn from this real-life cautionary tale: How we can all become better advocates for ourselves and loved ones and get the safe care we need. Listen in, feel slightly petrified, then learn how to take action.
To learn something new: Stuff You Should Know
Want to have a little fun and learn something new on your next jaunt? Download a few episodes of Stuff You Should Know, hosted by Josh Clark and Charles Wayne Bryant. Each episode takes on a new topic and gives listeners every last little detail of what they need to know to feel smarter by the end. Topics range widely so you’ll never be bored—from “champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime, and Rosa Parks.” After a few episodes, you’ll be ready to make conversation at your first post-pandemic dinner party.
To absolutely blow your mind: 99% Invisible
Ever wonder what makes the world go round? 99% Invisible is here to answer that complicated question for you. For more than a decade, host Roman Mars has taken people on a journey through just how skyscrapers are built, why waiting rooms all look identical to one another, where nuclear waste goes, and more. (And because this podcast has so many episodes, they also have a few staff recommendations to get you started.)
For deep-belly laughs: A Very Fatal Murder
After such difficult year (plus), you deserve a good laugh, and A Very Fatal Murder by the The Onion delivers. The six-part series podcast is a parody of the true-crime genre that chronicles the fictional murder and investigation of prom queen Hayley Price. It’s the perfect while-you-walk choice if you’re looking for something both hilarious and totally binge-worthy.
To walk your way healthier: Found My Fitness
Since you’re already out for a walk, odds are you’re at least a little invested in health and wellness too. Use that time while exercising to learn more about maximizing health with Found My Fitness, hosted by Rhonda Patrick, who holds a PhD in biomedical science. Each episode explores a different health topic ranging from aging DNA to how vitamin D can impact COVID-19, making it a wonderfully informative listen for your next walk.