I think most of us can agree: The treadmill is a pretty boring place to be. It’s not a bad place to be—it has a purpose. It’s just, unarguably, not a very exciting place to spend time. I’ve found that one way to incentivize myself to spend time on the treadmill (or to do anything I find boring, really) is to listen to a really great podcast.
I find a podcast serves as better distraction from the mundanity of the treadmill than even an expertly curated playlist does—just hear me out—because you actually get into the stories you hear. Sometimes, you even feel like a part of the conversation. And this is much more engaging than Demi Lovato’s latest hit (wonderful as Demi Lovato may be). The more engaged you are, the fewer chances you have to be reminded that you’re plodding away on a machine that never moves, right?
So, if you’re in search of some treadmill podcasts recommendations, below you’ll find seven, each with a different interest in mind.
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Plug In One of These 7 Podcasts Next Time You Step On The Treadmill
1) For an all-in-one sports and pop culture fix
Download: The Bill Simmons Podcast
Hosted by seasoned sports writer and personality Bill Simmons (serious sports readers will know him from the now-shuttered Grantland and his HBO-backed venture the Ringer), these lengthy episodes delightfully blend sports news and interviews with of-the-moment personalities, like Ta-Nehisi Coates and Greta Gerwig, like peanut butter and jelly. My point: It makes for a delicious listen. (And full disclosure here: I don’t even like sports.)
2) For anyone who’s hashtagged #newyearnewme in the past month
Download: Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations
Oprah is a freakin’ oracle. I will listen to any advice she gives me—but she only has so much to give. (She is still human, after all.) So for her Super Soul Conversations podcast, she picks the brains of similarly wise humans and pulls out the nuggets that make navigating life’s nagging questions (um, WHY are we here? HOW do I make the nagging voice in my head STFU? Etc.) a little bit easier to do. A few who I found to have great, implementable advice are Shawn Achor, an expert in the field of positive psychology, and Michael Singer, who wrote the book (literally) on silencing your inner critic.
3) If your usual treadmill past-time is fantasizing about quitting your job and following your dreams
Download: How I Built This
Did you know that the founder of Barre3, Sadie Lincoln, grew up on, essentially, a commune? And her brother is the founder of WeWork? Yeah, neither did I until I listened to her episode of How I Built This, an NPR series that gives an inside look at how founders of successful companies, from Barre3 to Clif Bar to Bumble, actually started their businesses. Spoiler alert: Lincoln sold pretty much everything she owned to follow her passion.
4) For a dose of thrilling outdoorsy adventure
Download: Outside Podcast
If you want to transport yourself to somewhere a bit more exciting than, um, the treadmill, this podcast—an arm of Outside magazine—will do the trick. They dive into true stories of thrill-seekers doing everything from getting stuck in a canyon with a broken leg to diving with sharks. Yeah, more exciting than the treadmill.
5) If you would rather be reading the New York Times
Download: The Daily
This short-and-sweet podcast (episodes ring in at around 20 minutes), hosted by New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro, covers both news, investigative pieces and more profile-like stories from the paper, giving you an interesting way, with a behind-the-scenes feel, of digesting content. Think of this as the podcast to load up on if you want to impress guests at an upcoming dinner party.
6) To satisfy the true-crime addict in you
Download: Dirty John
Fair warning: This story will leave you with a trust-no-one mentality for at least a day or two. But hey, if you’re already into true crime, you’re probably used to that. This six-episode series centers around a con artist of sorts who preys on older women and nabs one who somehow misses (or chooses to ignore. Love is blind, y’all) all of the red flags waving around him.
7) For free couples therapy
Download: Where Should We Begin?
It’s no secret that the gym can serve as an escape—and if you’re escaping relationship woes, psychotherapist and relationship expert Esther Perel takes you inside of her sessions so you can hear first-hand her advice for couples dealing with everything from cheating to addiction. The couples therapy sessions are real, but identities of the couples are hidden, so even if you’re not on the hunt for any relationship advice, it’s a satisfying listen. (Hey, we’re all a bit nosy, aren’t we?)