Fitness

Stress-busting podcasts

Laughter, meditation and sex are all proven stress-busters. With that unique prescription in mind, here are five must-listen podcasts that'll soothe your body and soul

The Meditation Podcast
Sure, it’s a little New Agey, but no one has to know what you’re listening to. This free, guided-meditation series from New Age musicians Jesse Stern and Jeane July-Stern packs a double whammy: The podcast uses Stern’s super-soothing voice and background sound tech called “binaural beats” (sounds pitched at frequencies that possess brain-calming properties). Each installment is themed, so you can choose from tracks such as “a basic meditation” and “positive thoughts.” (Remember those?) We advise you stick to positive thoughts on busy streets and save the basic meditation for a nature walk, where there’s no danger of meditating your way into a stop sign. (Free on iTunes or at TheMeditationPodcast.com.)

The New Yorker’s The Fiction Podcast
Don’t worry about all those unread books collecting dust on your nightstand. This fiction podcast—think of it as storytime for adults—provides a hands-free literary education with unique short stories from authors such as Lorrie Moore, A.M. Homes and Mavis Gallant. The tales are read by other authors, including some of the most renowned worldwide such as Joyce Carol Oates, Roddy Doyle and Jeffrey Eugenides. And there’s a substantial archive to choose from, so you won’t get bored. (Free on iTunes or at the NewYorker.com.)

Ricky Gervais Guide to…
It’s no surprise that the man who made The Office, British comedian Ricky Gervais, is also behind one of the funniest series of podcasts since his last series of podcasts, The Ricky Gervais Show. Broken into hour-long installments and only $2 a pop—trust us, it’s worth every penny—this show offers Gervais’s inspired take on art, natural history, medicine, philosophy, and the English. Comic oddity Karl Pilkington and The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant join him on his absurd ambles. Be prepared to laugh out loud. (Available at iTunes.)

You Look Nice Today
What would you pay for the bridge to Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”? That’s the type of utterly ridiculous questions that the three male hosts of this “Journal of Emotional Hygiene” debate weekly. Fun and frivolous, it’s a bit like a conversation between the coolest, cleverest undergrads you’d ever want to meet. (Free on iTunes.)

Savage Love Podcast
File this one under entertaining and educational (and also explicit). Sex columnist Dan Savage’s popular syndicated sex column, “Savage Love,” comes to life in this free podcast, available on iTunes. A no-holds-barred Savage answers pre-recorded audio questions from his loyal following of ever-curious readers. Savage makes Sue Johanson seem as prim and proper as Joyce Brothers, so be prepared for salty language and LOL-inducing answers. (Available free on iTunes or at TheStranger.com.)