Safe and Sound

How much attention do you pay to safety while exercising?

Mostly I am a super-cautious neurotic freak.  I have an exaggerated and narcissistic sense of personal risk based on the idea that "if bad things can happen to anyone, why wouldn't they happen to ME?" I avoid doing things many people find fun because I fear the worst.

Though of course at times I can also be a total dumb-ass and do unsafe things. I have been known to speed around blind corners on the bike trail or skip putting sunscreen on my arms and legs, courting skin cancer just because I think sunscreen sucks.

Over the years I've have written about many scary hazards, such lightning strikes, bike safety, or avoiding brain-eating amoebas.  (And they ain't bad posts, actually, if you want some tips on how not to get killed this summer.)

And for even more safety information, Happiness Savored Hot has a great post on water safety and she worked many years as a lifeguard and knows her stuff.  (From what I gathered, the safest plan is:  don't allow your kids anywhere near bodies of water, ever. Because they will drown if they even smell a pool or an ocean. Don't even have kids, that's the best plan. And if you're a grown-up, be careful too, especially if you are young, male, stupid, and drunk off your ass. But, um, her post is a lot more pragmatic and helpful).

But today we have a more specific safety tip... as well as a heads-up about a free lecture series that looks very cool that I wanted to alert you to. Which has nothing to do with safety, but whatever.

And Yes This Involves Another Freakin' Headphone Review...

Sorry. That was sneaky.  And I know I must seem headphone obsessed lately, but I couldn't resist when I got the chance to get a free pair of Aftershokz M2 Headphones to review. The whole point of them is to be able to safely listen to tunes while riding your bike or hiking or running or whatever.

They sit in front of your ears, not on them or in them. They do this by using "military bone conduction" technology, which sounds kinda sneaky and even a little creepy doesn't it? But the net result:

You can hear stuff around you as well as your music!

Note: it is harder than I thought to take a picture of my own ear. Sorry it's not a great angle.

Aftershokz HeadPhone Features

So the open ear design allows you to be aware if there are horns honking at you or trucks roaring up from behind or low-flying alien spacecraft hovering above, looking for oblivious humans to abduct. Thus you can wear these in situations where you could not wear safely wear normal headphones.

These are NOT wireless, which I am perfectly fine with, as I am old school. They do have a wireless version that is twice as expensive.   Mine also came with a microphone; there is a version without one. They come with a hard shelled carrying case and a USB charger and a doohickey you clip to your shirt that controls volume and lets you take calls, should the President urgently need your advice ASAP on a matter of extreme importance to the citizens of the nation.

 (Which is pretty much the only call I'd be willing to interrupt my exercise for).

 Thank you Crabby, you always have the best advice!

Of course, as with any product, there are things I loved and things I did not love.

What's to Love about Aftershokz MP2 Headphones

I love that I can take the headphones out on my favorite jetty walk...

And then, if I am playing mellow music or listening to some new-agey brainwashing tapes to rewire my former cranky brain into an ever more blissful one, I can also hear the sound of the water sloshing through the rocks and birds squawking and families bickering!

Crappy picture, cloudy day. Hmm, notice how I'm just throwing any old camera phone photo up on the blog now in order to break up the text and make the post seem more interesting than it is?  But, anyway, the point is I do freakin' LOVE the sound the water makes and I can hear it now.

I also discovered that I can use the headphones even with sunglasses and helmet, somehow it all fits, and thus I can have tunes when I go off on the bike.

They are lightweight and not uncomfortable.  Sometimes if you have the music cranked up high, it can tickle a little.

And for those of us who hate earbuds because they feel creepy and fall out all the time, this is another solution like the Koss headphones I recently reviewed that stay where they're supposed to. This has reduced the time spent cursing while exercising nearly 100%.

So What's Not to Like About the Aftershokz?

Unless you live on a remote island somewhere and never come into contact with other humans, these will probably not be your only headphones because...

Your music is audible to those around you.

Which makes sense; you can't have it both ways.  So you can't take these to the library, and you may annoy others around you if you wear them on a subway or elevator, or to a gym that does not have it's own annoying musical selections blasting at you.

Also, the sound is not as clear and pristine as with conventional earbuds.  Decent enough to hear it well and enjoy it, but not an audiophile sort of experience.

Another thing you can't have both ways? There is a tradeoff between how loudly you play your music and how much you can hear. If you are blasting your tunes, you may still hear loud sirens and horns honking, but you won't hear rushing water or birdcalls or maybe even a quiet car coming up from behind you. Use common sense.

Bottom line:  I love these things, as well as the Koss earbuds with the earpiece. Now that I have my indoor and outdoor headphone needs well met, I promise this blog will be completely free of headphone reviews for a good long time.

And hey, I just remembered I'm actually an Amazon affiliate! This nets me exactly $0 most months because I never put up any ads.  But what the heck. This is the pair I got to review:

So What's Love Got to Do With It?

Remember way up there at the beginning of the post I mentioned an upcoming lecture series?  Well, check out The Loving Brain which starts July 15.

It comes courtesy of my favorite neuroscience geek/zen guru Rick Hanson, who is awesome, as I should know as I've been stalking him all over the interwebs ever since I wrote the Enlightened Brain review.

I heart Rick.

Here's the scoop which I will lazily cut and paste rather than paraphrase:

Join neuropsychologist Rick Hanson and 7 top-tier academics, clinicians, and teachers as they apply new research, ancient wisdom, and powerful clinical insights to the messy, high stakes issues many people face in their work, family, friendship, and romantic relationships.

And yeah, safe to say it sounds like it will be awesome. And it's free!

Do you pay attention to safety while you are exercising? Are you too a fan of Rick Hanson? Or how the heck was your 4th of July or Canada day?

Caution sign photo: badjonni

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