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Turning NPR "driveway moments" into "walkway moments"

Forget pedometers to motivate exercise: (parent.thesis) blogger and public radio superfan Amy Tiemann uses her iPod to turn NPR "driveway moments" into "walkway moments."

Looking to get more exercise into your life? New research from Stanford Medical School reports that people who use pedometers walk about 2,000 steps more every day than those who don't. That translates to an extra mile of progress each day.

So that's one little gadget that can help. Walking has been on my mind lately because one strategy that has really worked for me is to listen to public radio shows on my iPhone iPod while I walk the dog. I know that if I walk my way through an entire 40-minute podcast each day, broken up into two or three segments, I have met my exercise goal.

But even better than that, I often walk farther than I had planned because I get caught up in a compelling show--turning public radio "driveway moments"into "walkway moments."

For example, last week I was catching up on an episode of The Story with Dick Gordon about the early days of the aerobics craze of the 1980's. I reached the end of my planned walk as that story ended, but the next segment was going to be about a listener's "brush with fame" encounter with The Wicked Witch of the West. I couldn't pass that up, so I added another 20 minutes to my outing.

Many public radio shows are now available via podcast. I subscribe to the free podcasts of Fresh Air, The Story with Dick Gordon, The Diane Rehm Show, This American Life, and North Carolina Public Radio's The State of Things. I don't get to listen to every episode, but I make my way through a surprising amount of programming, especially if I add housecleaning into the mix.

Time Magazine reports this week that "modern parents multitask 40 more hours a week than did their counterparts in 1975." Multitasking has developed a dubious reputation for good reason, as it can leave us driven to distraction, but it's not always a bad thing. I like to walk my dog, I have to exercise, I love to listen to public radio; I hate to clean my house, I have to clean my house...and the podcasts make that necessary activity a little more enjoyable and meaningful along the way.

[A final public radio fanatic's sidenote: I know we often say "NPR" for shorthand when we mean "public radio." It's important to acknowledge other producers and distributors, including local stations. For example, The Story is produced by North Carolina Public Radio and distributed by American Public Media, and This American Life is a joint effort between WBEZ in Chicagoand Public Radio International.]