You have to listen to music when you work out. It’s, like, one of the fundamental rules of exercising. Working out without tunes is just…weird. Seriously. This gets more complicated when you decide to leave the house. You have to come up with a way to put the sound directly into your own ears while keeping it out of everybody else’s ears.
The simplest way to do this is to simply use your phone or your mp3 player and the ear buds that came with it.
Raise your hand if you have ever accidentally sent yourself sprawling because you got tangled up in your ear bud cord. Raise your hand if you ever got so into your workout that you forgot to pay attention to your device and it bounced right out of your shorts pocket or hoodie pouch. So much for smugly tucking that ear bud cord under your shirt or clipping it in strategic places! Raise your hand if these two things have ever happened to you at the same time. It’s cool. We’re all nerds here.
Luckily, most of the manufacturers of mp3 players have gotten hip to the inherent clumsiness that can affect us all while we work out and have come up with special sports versions of their players to help you keep the motivational music playing without having to worry that it might accidentally try to kill you.
Here are some of the best.
Pyle PSWB4BK 4GB Waterproof MP3 Player and Headphones
I don’t know what I like better about the Pyle PSWB4BK 4GB Waterproof MP3 Player and Headphones: that it is one piece or that it is waterproof. While admittedly I don’t swim much (swimmers are who this manufacturer is targeting), things do tend to get rainy here in the Pacific Northwest, and being able to listen to music while walking through torrential downpours and not having to worry about water working its way down my ear bud cord and into my phone (where it can cause damage) is appealing.
RoadNoise was invented as a means to get around Hood to Coast’s “no headphones” rule (a smart rule since a lot of this marathon involves running directly on a highways). It’s true that the speakers are “open air,” meaning that people running or walking by might be able to make out some of what you’re listening to, but it won’t be at a loud enough volume to be disturbing. It’s a great option for people who: a) don’t want to worry about getting tangled up in ear bud cords, b) don’t like to wear ear buds or headphones in the first place, and c) are prevented by the rules of their workout from using ear buds.
Sansa Clip Zip by SanDisk
There are two important things going for this mp3 player: It is affordable (most variations run about $50), and it has actual buttons to push when you want to advance to the next song or repeat what you’ve already heard. Okay, yes, some ear buds have controls built onto them, but they involve your having to push the volume buttons in specific orders and at specific speeds (Apple, we’re looking at you). Having real buttons for each function is a huge bonus when your brain needs to stay focused elsewhere and you don’t want to worry about taking your eyes off the terrain just to listen to something for a second time.
Do you have a favorite sport/exercise-geared mp3 player? Or have you found something that makes your existing mp3 player or phone less of a hazard? Tell us about it!
Erin Steiner is a freelance writer and geek from Portland, Oregon. She covers a wide variety of topics for clients all over the web.