Podcasts became a huge part of my life around a year ago, when I started using them to learn more about my chosen final year Biology topics. Since then, they’ve been a constant accompaniment to my everyday life – from sitting in the tube to heading out for some long and otherwise boring cardio. Most recently, I have taken on ‘walk to school month’ as my very own #walktowork month, joined by some others throughout instagram. The health benefits of fresh air and low-intensity exercise cannot be overstated, especially as it gets darker outside, so please join in!
This article hopefully will give you some motivation to join me this October in walking to work/school/uni or wherever you spend your days. The time spent listening to podcasts is time that not only passes quicker, but is also hugely productive – from keeping up with current events to learning about niche topics, podcasts (in my opinion) make you a more interesting person all round. Let me know of any of your own suggestions and tell me how you get on! Make sure to tag me in any of your #walktowork posts 🙂
In no particular order, here is the list of my top 12 podcasts, plus a couple of extras at the end.
This American Life
“This American Life is a weekly public radio show, heard by 2.2 million people on more than 500 stations”. It explores themes of contemporary western living and a variety of stories on that theme. It’s one of the hardest podcasts to describe but is well worth a listen! It’s sometimes serious, sometimes light-hearted but always draws you in to a story and makes you think!
- 360: Switched At Birth
- 550: Three Miles
- 282: DIY
“Freakonomics radio is an American public radio program which discusses socioeconomic issues for a general audience”. I have very little interest in economics really, but for someone who likes to understand the world this podcast brings up a whole load of things you’d just never think of. Great for lateral thinking.
- These shoes are killing me!
- When helping hurts
- Evolution, Accelerated
- Are the rich really less generous than the poor?
“Invisibilia (Latin for invisible things) is about the invisible forces that control human behaviour – ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions”. I absolutely love this podcast. It’s less fact-based than the others I listen to, but explores things we wouldn’t often think about with anecdotes on a theme. Well worth a listen.
- Future Self
- Outside In
Law Pod UK
“Law pod discusses developments across all aspects of civil and public law in the UK”. I am new to this one, but it discusses the law and controversy around a range of issues – especially useful if you want to know more about the history and current law of a particular topic, or if you’re really into UK law.
- Measuring the clinical effectiveness for specialist drugs
- NI abortion rights, Charlie Gard etc.
The Naked Scientist
“The Naked Scientist flagship science show brings you a lighthearted look at the latest scientific breakthrough, interviews with the world’s top scientists and answers to your science questions”. I know I’m an unashamed nerd, but I have no shame in recommending this to absolutely everyone. It’s done in a way that absolutely everyone can understand, so no need to feel like you’re not into science and therefore can’t listen!
- Can we be healthy and sustainable, conversations about climate change
- Food security: insects for dinner?
- Conversations about Climate Change
On The Media
“The smartest, wittiest, most incisive media analysis show in the universe”. I will be the first to admit that I am terrible at reading the general global news, and even worse at understanding it. OTM is good for analysing what’s going on in the world and put some kind of sense into it all. It’s sometimes a little over my head but I like to feel like at least I’m trying to keep up to date on it all!
- I find all of these quite confusing but also they make me feel clever. I would recommend listening to them all as they come out.
Stuff you should know
“How do landfills work? How do mosquitoes work? Join Josh and Chuck as they explore the Stuff You Should Know about everything from genes to the universe”. Enjoying a podcast that explains just about anything you can think of pay put me somewhere on the nerd-autism spectrum, but I absolutely love it, and it gives you a basic knowledge of a bunch of stuff that people might talk about, from maps to nude beaches. Anything you can think of, it’s probably covered.
- How giraffes work
- How zoos work
- What was the most peaceful time in history?
You are not so smart
“You are not so smart is a celebration of self delusion that explores topics related to cognitive biases, heuristics and logical fallacies”. I don’t understand what that means, but still MASSIVELY enjoy this podcast. It’s definitely in my top 3 pods ever, and also wins the ‘coolest intro music’ award.
- The climate paradox (081)
- Moral Arguments (088)
- Naïve Realism (101)
- All the ‘X fallacy’ ones (you really do realise how not-smart humans are)
“Will Young and Christopher Sweeny talk to inspirational people over tea and biscuits.”. Basically described as ‘an LGBTQ version of Women’s Hour’, this podcast is like listening in to a conversation between the two hosts that ranges from hilarious to emotional and back in the space of an episode, covering a bunch of important topics. Not just for LGBTQ+ listeners! Have a listen and see what you think.
- James Wharton (S01Ep10)
- LGBTQ+ Sex workers (S01Ep06)
- All the feedback episodes
The Life Scientific
“Professor Jim Al-Khalili talks to leading scientists about their life and work, finding out what inspires and motivates them and asking what their discoveries might do for mankind”. If you’re a fan of amazing stories about people who have done amazing things, listen to this. I love to hear about the science, but even better than that is the often crazy and inspiring lives that the scientists have lived.
- Tracey Rogers on leopard seals in Antarctica
- Fay Dowker on a new theory of space-time
- Simon Wessely on unexplained medical symdromes
“Only Human is a show about health that we can all relate to. Because every body has a story”. I don’t listen to this all that often because it’s often quite heavy, but the stories told on it are often incredible and definitely make you think more about how you are as a human. Good for long walks.
- The birth of climate change denial
- Growing up “ugly”
- Yes, Simba, Chimps laugh
Don’t salt my game
“Join Registered Nutritionist and Wellness Advocate Laura Thomas, PhD for conversations with game changers. Laura talks to people in wellness, foodies, bloggers, entrepreneurs from cool brands, creatives, nutritionists, doctors, body positivity people, mindfulness experts, and anyone else who is shaking up the wellness world, to find out how they stay on top of their game – and to help you do you, but better.” This is a somewhat reluctant addition to the list but not for the reasons you might think. I am a MASSIVE fan of evidence-based channels, and for that, Laura gets an A*. However, sometimes opinions get blurred with fact, and without keeping on your toes this can go a little bit too far down the opinion/rant road. In all, well worth a listen for a ‘be kind to your body’ outlook on wellness, but listen with caution – take some of this with a pinch of salt, so to speak.
- All adventurous women do (EP44)
- Izy Hossack from Top with Cinnamon (EP01)
- Getting deep, changing your mindset and practising gratitude (EP28, ft. my friend Lawrence Price/@fafitsake).
The Debrief podcast
“We all know that adulting is hard. As in, there aren’t nearly enough memes in the world to fully explain just how fantastically awkward it is to try and be an actual, legitimate grown up (because what does being a grown up even mean?). Each week The Debrief’s Stevie and Tessa will be on hand (erm, headphones?) to help you get your life together. They’ll be doing all of the hard, boring research for you into the things that you actually need to know to get by in life.” This podcast annoyed me at first, but actually has some reeeally useful tips and brings up some super important topics about being 20-something, especially as a woman. The Debrief website is also incredible, so if you like that, you’ll probably like this too.
- Deal With Catcalling
- Survive Winter Without Feeling Sad And Cold
- Deal With Jealousy
“Science News and highlights of the week” – this may sound incredibly nerdy and in depth but the whole podcast explains everything in lay terms for everyone to understand. It reports the latest research in all areas of science, from medicine to astrology to palaeontology. I love keeping up with science news but have no knowledge of anything other than the basics in lots of fields, so it’s great to have the research and its relevance explained.
- Skin Cell Therapies
- Where have all the flying insects gone?
- Health and climate change
Shoutout to two of my friends who have also started their own podcasts recently, and are smashing it! Lauren Tickner (@laurenfitness) has started a podcast called ‘Business Meets Fitness’, which aims to share inspiring stories and evidence-based information regarding both business and fitness. I appreciate Lauren’s love of fact (the stuff that (should) run the world) and business mindset. Another friend, Kash (@kashwhiteley), has started a podcast with friend Britt, called ‘The Female Perspective’ and covers a range of topics from sex to body image, really hitting home on a lot of topics! If you’re interested in what these girls get up to outside of the instagram bubble, these podcasts are really great and thought-provoking to listen to.