Walking to the Beat

The joy that I feel from having a playlist that matches my pace is off-the-charts ridiculous! It has completely transformed my morning walks. I’ve still got some refinements to make, but I’m not kidding–it’s awesome.

My standard walking routine (such that it was) has involved listening to podcasts. I love my podcasts. I subscribe to more than I could listen to, even if I listened to podcasts every waking minute. I do NOT listen to podcasts every waking minute. But I have always liked listening to them on my walks. The thing about that, though, is that while it may be (depending on the podcast) entertaining, informative, and sometimes even inspiring, it is not generally very good at boosting my levels of performance. And apparently, you know, there’s more to this walking thing than just putting one foot in front of the other. It tends to help more if I do it in a more intensive fashion. With sweating and puffing and all that sort of thing.

So I switched from podcasts to music. I had a playlist of up-tempo tunes that I’d culled from my iTunes library about 50 years ago, so I was using that. And it was okay. Then I’m walking along, puffing and sweating and what-not, when I realize that the song that’s playing has a tempo that perfectly matches the pace I’m walking.

Boom-step! Boom-step! Boom-step! It’s awesome! And then the next song starts and it’s a little faster, and I’m trying to speed up to match the new tempo, but it’s hard, and I get it for a little while then I’m going uphill and I lose it, and it’s not awesome. So I skip to the next song, and the next and the next and the next, and finally I find one with the right beat, and I’m doing it again, boom-step, and it’s fucking magic. But I’ve only got 3 songs in the whole playlist that work. I vow to find more when I get home.

And I did. It turns out that building playlists of songs with the same BPM (beats per minute) is totally a thing, mainly for DJs and runners. Spotify even has a feature where it will determine your pace and then create a playlist to match it. But I wanted a playlist of songs that I picked out myself. And now, thanks to sites like SongBPM , SortYourMusic, and BPM Database, I’ve got it.

The music makes me feel happier and more energized. And most importantly, it helps me keep a steadier pace, so I’m slowing slowing down on the uphill parts, and I’m sweating and puffing more than before.

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