Exercise your ears

Audiobooks, playlists and podcasts to help you through your workout

Exercising can be a drag at times, but when you have earbuds and a good book or some nice music beating against your eardrums, it makes the workout a little more bearable.

One great way to listen to audiobooks and music is through two virtual library apps used by the Multnomah County Library: OverDrive Media and Hoopla. The library offers a wide variety of music recordings, audiobooks, recorded lectures, and spoken word recordings such as poetry and comedy. Library Members can search and browse titles either in the library’s online catalog or in the apps themselves. Both apps offer streaming as well as downloadable offline options.

For those disappointed with the library’s selection, the for-pay service Audible can be a great resource for books to listen to while pumping iron. In the newest version of Audible, users can download books for offline listening—useful when going for a run outside of Wi-Fi service range. Music streaming sites like Spotify, Tidal, and Pandora have also introduced offline options for their services.

If audiobooks and music aren’t your thing, podcasts are a good way to go. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, you can get recommendations simply by going to the Featured or Top Charts tab in iTunes or any podcasts app. This will show some popular podcasts that you can either stream with Wi-Fi or download to listen offline. Once you have a general idea of what you like to listen to, search a name or topic of interest and hundreds of different podcasts will appear.

As you get rolling you’ll find that podcast hosts often guest on each other’s shows, leading to new podcasts for your listening and exercising pleasure. Maybe you’ll even get so interested in podcasts that you decide to buy a USB microphone and start producing your own!

If all that new-fangled technology seems daunting, Luddites and vintage-tech aficionados can grab their grandparents’ cassette player, throw in a tape, and go to town!

One great way to broaden your music taste and show your school spirit is to listen to KPSU, Portland State’s very own commercial-free radio station and the only college radio station in town. It is a very versatile station, as the student DJs and volunteers have free reign over the content of their shows. During the five hours I streamed KPSU, they went from soft jazz to Stevie Ray Vaughn covering “Voodoo Child” to “Venus” by Bananarama.

Joe Hernandez, programming director for KPSU, believes the station is a wonderful channel for students to express their interests and taste in music. “We have a diverse range of shows with various genres of music played from both local and bigger artists, as well as shows more talk oriented,” Hernandez said. “We have a show for every genre, and shows with DJs who put together more eclectic mixes. There’s a show that everyone can tune in live weekly and enjoy on KPSU.”

For those interested in local music, KSPU also features music from Portland artists, including PSU students. “We’re aware that PSU students are musically gifted, and we feel our duty as a college radio station is to showcase our local music scene,” Hernandez said.

Next time you’re in need of some new tunes or an amusing podcast, be sure to explore KPSU, the library, or some streaming apps: It’s sure to make your workout more entertaining!