By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Music therapy
Drift from a Driftless Place

They say that music is therapeutic and I believe it. There is a specialty in the health field now called music therapy. Must be something to it. The soundtrack of our lives affects our outlooks, attitudes and altitudes. Music can pick you up, calm you down, entertain, encourage introspection and thinking, as well as set a good pace for getting some work done. I’m thinking here of raking leaves or painting the house to a nice brisk John Phillips Sousa march, say the Stars and Stripes Forever. A casual observer (who didn’t see your ear bud) might think you were obsessed when you were really only trying to keep up with the beat.

Marketing people know that music can affect our purchasing habits and make us buy more. Think about that the next time you’re in a store, filling your cart and getting psyched out by the upbeat and positive muzak in the background. It makes a difference. Or consider movies and the very important role music plays in every movie you’ve ever seen. Without a good score, without the theme from ‘The Magnificent Seven’ for example, that film would just be a bunch of guys riding around on their horses out west. Yawn.

But sometimes, peace and quiet is alright. Several years ago, I decided to become a serious, dedicated walker. For reasons of my own, I vowed to walk an average of 45 minutes a day for an entire year. OK, I’ll tell you my reason: 45 minutes per day worked out to be approximately one million seconds of walking for the year. I wanted to be a “millionaire“ exercise-wise, you see, and this was one way to do it. And it worked for me; I finished the year in very good shape and logged over a million seconds walking. I’m actually working on my second million in dollars... I gave up on my first!

When I began my walking year, I thought I would need a sound track or books on tape or something to get me through the year. I wasn’t sure I could just walk without getting bored. I quickly learned that any distraction via earphones was just that, a distraction that took away from the moving experience that I discovered walking to be. Walking turned out to be an excellent time to think and it was great to be aware of and in touch with the natural surroundings we are blessed with. To say nothing of safer; every once in a while you hear of someone with earphones absent-mindedly stepping out in front of a car. Walking without music sort of goes against my point about the importance and place of music, but music usually enhances our lives. I suppose headphones would be a lifesaver if your exercise were done on a treadmill or a stationary bike.