Like most folks, I love music -- always have. But since we sold our stereo equipment when we divested ourselves of most of our possessions several years ago, I've relied on digital music for most of my listening. I burned a bunch of my CDs onto my laptop before I sold them, and I've also purchased some MP3 singles and albums over the past few years, so I have a good bit of music on my laptop.
But I like listening to music when I work out and have not had a way to do that in Mexico until now. I do have an old, first-generation MP3 player in the US, but it has a tiny memory capacity and was filled up with our Pimsleur audio Spanish lessons anyway -- we used it to practice Spanish in our car as we drove through less populated areas of the US last year. So I didn't even bother bringing it to Mexico since I have the Pimsleur lessons on my laptop as well.
At the time, I had no idea that we'd find a fantastic running track just a couple of blocks from our rental here in Playa del Carmen and that I'd start running a couple of times a week.
I like running on a track for several reasons: it's safe from cars, bicycles, and erratic pedestrians; it has a soft, synthetic surface that is easy on my (aging) joints; and its even surface is a huge improvement on the many varied-height curbs on the roads and sidewalks here. But it can be tedious and boring going round and round without music as a distraction and a motivator. Believe me, when it comes to running, I need all the help I can get!
Enter my friend Cara in Rhode Island. With her late January trip to Isla Mujeres planned, she generously asked if there were any small things she might be able to bring to me that I couldn't get in Mexico. I'd looked in a few stores here for an MP3 player already but hadn't found anything affordable. All that seems to be available here are Apple products (i.e, iPods), and they're expensive. I didn't want to spend a lot, especially since I have little use for a player in the US -- I don't feel safe listening to music while cycling; and if I'm hiking or walking outdoors, I prefer to enjoy the sounds of nature around me.
So, I immediately realized that this would be something small that Cara could bring down for me; and it would be very inexpensive for me to purchase in the US and have shipped to her. I didn't need a lot of memory, 4 Gb would be plenty (especially when compared to my old player at 256 Kb!) Cara even helped me locate a small, inexpensive MP3 player on Amazon before I even had a chance to look!
I ended up ordering it on Ebay and shipping it to Cara's house. I got a SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 4Gb player in purple to go with the purple earbuds I already owned!
For under $40, I'd improve my running enjoyment and possibly even my efficiency. According to studies done of exercisers, listening to upbeat music delays feelings of discomfort and can increase people's ability to work out for longer or at a faster pace, and I totally believe it. For several years, I'd used my old MP3 player when running on the treadmill at the gym where I worked, and I know it helped me run farther and with less focus on any discomfort I might be feeling.
This article does a great job of summarizing this and other health (physical and mental) benefits of music, and there are a lot of them:
Five Ways Music Improves Our Health (Huffington Post, February 2, 2015)
Yesterday I finally loaded a good selection of my music onto my new little player. And I do mean little. It's tiny and weighs almost nothing. And best of all, it has a nice big clip on the back to attach to my clothing rather than having to wear a bulky armband. I see a lot of folks running with their large iPhones on their upper arms, and that just doesn't look comfortable to haul around at all.
Now if I could only get back to the track to try it out! I've had a really nasty cold for almost two weeks now that really blossomed right after our meet-up with Cara and her friend Mary in Isla Mujeres over a week ago. I've had a bad cough and a congested head, so running is out of the question. I'm also tired all the time, so even walking on the track sounds hard at this point. Hopefully I'll be back to my normal excellent health and energy level very soon.
Thanks to Cara for being a "mule" for me. Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference!
Music Image courtesy of fotographic1980 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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