Five MP3 players for moving music

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Size matters when it comes to choosing an MP3 player for workouts. Look for compact devices with big buttons.

The way we listen to music has changed dramatically from the days of the iconic bright yellow Walkman that used cassettes (gasp!) and those clunky portable CD players (gulp!).

Today's micro-sized MP3 devices and sleek smartphones keep us connected at all times -- ideal for downloading tunes on the go. For athletes, there's no question that a motivating playlist can keep energy levels high. You'll want a compact device, decent sound and controls that are easy to use. Also keep in mind that with 4GB of memory, you can store about 1,000 songs; 8GB players hold a library of 2,000 tunes. Either way, you'll be set for a workout.

Here are music makers for running, cycling or even swimming!

1. Ion Audio Clipster ($39.95)

If you're hiking or mountain climbing, bring along the Clipster, a Bluetooth speaker that attaches easily to your belt loop or backpack strap and plays music streamed wirelessly from your digital music player or smartphone. It can be securely stowed in a pants/jacket pocket, knapsack or bag. It works with the iPad, iPhone, iPod and Android devices -- or any Bluetooth music player. Large volume controls make it easy to pump up the sound and a rechargeable battery gives you enough juice for a daylong outing.

2. Sansa Clip Zip ($59.99)

Ideal for indoor cycling, this MP3 player offers up to 8GB of music on the go, plus a whopping 15 hours of battery life on a charge. If you want sports updates or news headlines while exercising, tune into the built-in FM. It also has a stopwatch to time your workouts. Light but durable, it can clip onto your clothes, handlebars, backpack or belt. Its large buttons also come in handy.

Sony Walkman Sports MP3 ($99.99)

Swim in style with Sony's Walkman Sports MP3 -- a waterproof, all-in-one 4GB digital music player that goes from park to pool. Whether you're training for a tri, swimming laps or even doing stand-up paddleboard yoga, the Sony deflects not only water, but sweat from intense workouts. On a full charge, there are eight hours of playback. For a quick charge, just three minutes score you another hour. With the newly designed tension band, you get a supportive fit along with small, medium and large earpieces.

Apple iPod Touch ($229)

The 16GB base model is expensive, but its range of features is unbeatable. Best of all, you're tied into Apple's own music download store -- iTunes -- which makes downloading music over WiFi and organizing a library of tunes a breeze. What's more, you can also tap into other music services like Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody and Amazon. Not only do you get music, but a wealth of health and fitness apps, maps and video. There's also a 5-megapixel camera to grab some snaps of great scenery or a group shot with your workout buddies.

Apple iPod Shuffle ($49)

This lightweight and inexpensive 2GB colorful, wearable music player clips onto your clothing and lets you take your tunes on the go. It features a big, clickable control pad on the front for easy access to your music. Use the Genius Mixes feature on iTunes, which automatically lines up songs that sound great together. Just double-click the VoiceOver button on the top to find out if your battery needs a charge.

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