Books and Body Exercise: Can they really coexist?

October 6, 2014 Discussion 52

So Tabitha has been really sweet about sharing her blog with me and has given me some extra creative outlets while she takes a mamabear break. Every pregnant woman deserves at least one nap time a day and I’m pretty sure that work is draining her dry.

That being said, I don’t mind picking up the slack by posting a few times more here and there about topics that I mainly talk about with my GoodReads crew. Why not stretch that out to the blogging crew as well?

So I started working out the beginning of September. Now mind you, I haven’t worked out in a year so I was SO out of shape. And yes, I know I’m a skinny bitch, but us skinny bitches are frail and weak…thus a workout is in order! *bangs the gavel* That, and I’ve read/watched too much horror concerning rape and I want to be able to give the perp a run for his money.

So I spend an hour and a half at the gym every other day, while my kiddo goes to this Toddler Fit class–which is another more expensive way of going to I-can-play-with-whatever-I-want class–while mommy works her ass off. That’s a long time. Time that could be spent doing things I enjoy! THINGS LIKE READING!!

So now I’ve reached a dilemma and the main question of all:

Should I read while I workout? And if so, How?

So naturally, I ask my fellow GR buddies on what they do, which sparked the following answers:

  • I don’t read while I workout, I can only focus on one thing
  • I don’t read because I do too much while I workout, but jogging only is okay to read
  • I read sometimes, but it really depends on what I plan on working on
  • I listen to audiobooks and it’s wonderful
  • I’ve tried listening to audiobooks but I can’t really get into a book when I’m working out

I have even thought so far as to conduct some sort of experiment basing on reading vs not reading vs audiobooks and which one is the better fit. But then I thought better of myself, because somehow I knew that something bad would happen and I would end up with a broken arm somehow.

Anyway, I was just wondering what a few of you think about it…or if there are other answers/suggestions out there that you would have.

52 Responses to “Books and Body Exercise: Can they really coexist?”

    • Kat

      I read a lot faster too, I think that’s the only downside with me. I actually don’t get sick, but I can totally see how that would be a turn off. I wouldn’t want to read either.

  1. Litha Nelle

    I’m planning on buying an exercise bike so I can read while burning a few calories- I’ve never tried it before but I’ve heard of other people doing it, so it should work.
    Other than lifting massive hardcover tomes to read, I have no other experience with exercising while reading- audio books have never been my thing.

    • Kat

      I actually tested out both. And when you’re biking it should be fine, but anything else is a total dud. I tried while running and doing stairmaster. It was so difficult and annoying and ultimately I read way way less than normal. But goodluck! And enjoy!

    • Kat

      LOL! No, don’t think that would be too wise. And don’t worry it takes a lot for people to focus on a lot at the same time.

  2. Nikki

    I can’t read on the treadmill or even on the crosstrainer and stuff, and weights, never. But I do read on the upright bike; I get on, set a timer, put it on ‘random’, and then just cycle away. I use it as a cooldown, not the main part of my workout, but reading makes it go a lot faster and means I don’t lose interest. I have to use my Kobo, though; reading a dead tree book is just about impossible for me on any exercise equipment.
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    • Kat

      Me too!! I sweat too much for that shit. My book would be all gross afterwards and’s just not a pleasing thought. I tried doing it and it was an epic fail because I couldn’t focus on the words on the page. Audiobooks were so much better for me.

  3. Finley Jayne

    For me personally, I need music when I’m walking/strength training. There’s no way I could concentrate on an audio book while also trying to keep track of my sets etc. 🙂 But, lots of people do, so it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try and see how it goes!
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    • Kat

      I did 😀 and I did it with “The Dark Tower” book 2…it was AMAZING and I think it was keenly due to the awesome narrator (so that’s what really makes an audiobook a good idea).

    • Kat

      Same here. I actually tried it a little after writing this post. Narrator was superb, which made for a great experience IMO.

  4. Kirsty-Marie

    I can’t even concentrate on music while there unless I blast it, I get distracted by looking out the window and count cars for some reason. Then the other side looks out into the pool so I get distracted by the water. But I guess audiobooks would be better if you can concentrate, and really, I’ll applaud anyone who read or a book or from the kindle while exercising.
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    • Kat

      LOL, I tried both. Guess audiobook wins for me, because I can’t read worth a shit while I’m running. I work out SUPER hard. So when I’m dying in sweat and all out of breath…reading words on a page can be very difficult. But, loved the audiobooks so far…they really help the time fly by.

  5. Rhianna

    I’ve been off my working out track since the spring but I’ve never been one to read while working out. I need high BPM music when I run to keep me from giving up too soon and when I workout otherwise I use Blogilates videos so I would have a hard time listening to anything on audio while trying to pay attention to Cassey’s instructions and it’s a full body workout so there’s no way to hold a book or even look at one. lol

    I save my audiobooks for when I’m cleaning or cooking. 😉
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    • Kat

      Well at least you have good reasons! LOL, and I do it while I clean too! I just did it the other, grocery shopping, driving…really helps when I get bored doing all of those things and I don’t feel like listening to music. Plus, I feel extra productive, does that make sense?

  6. Annie

    I don’t understand how people can read while running. Like, you’re bouncing – how can you hold an eye line? It’s way too much work for me to focus on one or two words. Besides, I like using work out time to let my brain stew on other things, particularly whatever I’m trying to write at the time.

    Though, I like the idea of listening to audiobooks while working out. It seems manageable enough but I can see where it’d be easy to lost track of the story if you have to pay attention to other things for a minute. Of course I kind of always think that about audiobooks 🙂
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    • Kat

      Well hey, you can do whatever you like. Some people like music, some people don’t. It’s great being able to. I know that my reading pace is drastically lower when I’m actually reading–so I don’t plan on doing that again, just for that alone. Plus, I don’t want my books to get so sweaty. Audiobooks are nice though 🙂 at least thus far.

  7. Molly Mortensen

    Good for you. I should really do that. If I could read too it would be so much better, but I’m not great at multitasking. I’d probably forget to work out and get into the book or run into something. I haven’t tried an audio book yet, but I have trouble with my mind wandering while listening to those and with my clumsiness that wouldn’t be good. Good luck! 🙂
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    • Kat

      I thought I would be the same way, believe me! But I tried it for the first time and it was very successful. Second time not so much, because I don’t like the narrator all that much, but it’s not so bad as to stop listening completely. Anyway, it’s worth a try.

  8. Nuzaifa @ Say It with Books

    I’m naturally skinny too and I’ve never been motivated enough to actually go work out. Sometimes I think “Hey I’m going to take the stairs instead of the elevator” but I barely make it to the second floor. It’s a disgrace, LOL!

    But if I were to try I don’t think I could read/listen to audio books while working out. I’d be way more interested in the plot twist than keeping track on the treadmill so that would be quite disastrous!
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    • Kat

      HEY! LOL, I’m naturally skinny too, but I hate feeling flimsy and weak…which I am. I can wrap my hand around my arms :/ I did gain 5 pounds though, I’m 115…hopefully that’s actually muscle or this workout thing is a complete fail.

      Well there are other things than the treadmill. I actually listen to music for that and then put on the book the rest of the hour for ab workouts and stairmaster 🙂

  9. fishgirl182 @ nite lite

    I can’t read while exercising because I have terrible eyesight and get motion sick. I can listen to audiobooks though which I do sometimes. Other times I listen to podcasts or music.
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    • Kat

      Well HURRAY!! Good for you staying active. It took me some pushing from a fellow friend to start up again

    • Kat

      LOL, I’m lazy too, but I’ve been keeping to my every-other-day-workout schedule. Weekends are totally lazy-days though. I just binge-played the Mass Effect series.

  10. Anya

    Love this post!! I’m pretty obsessed with books obviously, but also with fitting in as much exercise as I can as painlessly as I can >.> Therefore, I read while working out A LOT. I’ve done audiobooks while working out before, but what I really love to do is bring my Kindle and read eARCs while walking on the treadmill or elliptical since then I can just go go go for two hours and not even notice it :D. When it is nice out and I feel so inclined, I also like going for walks outside while listening to my current audiobook. Honestly, tempting myself with awesome books is the main way I motivate myself to workout 😉
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    • Kat

      Hurray a fellow exercise-reading user! I recently did experiment with this shortly after making this post and I find that audio works best for me. I just can’t read when I run and work so hard, but audio makes the time seriously fly. I look like a total idiot when I smile or laugh to myself too. But hey, I love every moment. The narrators are KEY towards loving one though. If you know of any really good ones, don’t hesitate to let me know!

      • Anya

        Yeah, I can imagine running would make it hard to read the text, haha. I found that I had to turn up the font size quite a bit, but once I did that it helped me a lot ;-). The worst is when you get to a sad part and start tearing up at the gym, HAHA! Oo yes! I love Kristin Hvam who narrates the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and the Reboot books, and also Lies of Locke Lamora is epic and so wonderfully narrated! I just finished listening to How to Train Your Dragon which is narrated by DAVID TENNANT!!!! *breathes* yeah so I kind of like audiobooks if you couldn’t tell >.>
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  11. Kayla @ The Thousand Lives

    I’m afraid I can’t help much here! I tried reading when I was running on the elliptical, but I ended up getting nauseous with all the bouncing around and trying to follow a single sentence. But I think maybe a stationary bike would be better? That way you’re getting the cardio and legs in but your arms are free and your torso is steady. That’s all I’ve got – I hope you find a good method!
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  12. Alise

    Aha, I hear you on the skinny weak thing. I can’t win arm wrestling my 15 year cousin. Even if I use both arms D: so I totally understand your feeling of wanting to defend yourself.

    And holy crap, I don’t think I could read while working out. All my energy is focused on not dying. I mainly use the treadmill and I found that it’s hard to read like that. Maybe on an exercise bike it would be easier but I can’t focus that much.

    Audiobooks are a good idea in theory but I have terrible time keeping those crappy headphones in while running or whatever so they aren’t for me. Great topic!
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    • Kat Stark @ NotYetRead

      I’m the same way, except for with my husband. We like to horse around and he always wins. Even when I try like hell.

      I am the same way with paperbooks and kindle, but audio is working so nice for me thus far! Thank you for stopping by beautiful!! I know you’re a busy bee so it means a lot to me that you dropped on by 🙂
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  13. Jenna @ Rather Be Reading YA

    I run outside, so it’s audiobooks for me. Actually I’ve been listening to more podcasts lately, but I was in the middle of an audiobook that I’d like to get back to soon. I also have a treadmill for rainy/cold days, but I prefer running outside when I can. I’ve never been able to understand how people read on the treadmill. The bouncing! I can’t focus on my book or the Kindle enough to read.
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  14. Danya @ Fine Print

    Personally, the only way I enjoy working out is if I can focus on something else – like an audiobook. My routine is pretty simple: listen to audiobook while running, then listen while lifting weights. Sometimes if I’m really pushing myself with lifting I’ll pause the book so I can ‘dig deep,’ hahaha. As long as the book has simple language I’m fine. Usually I listen to UF rather than sci-fi or high fantasy because there are fewer unfamiliar terms to keep track of. Good luck with your experiment, and report back! 🙂
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  15. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I’m pretty uncoordinated so I can’t use my treadmill at speeds over 2mph if I’m going to read…which doesn’t do me much good when I’m trying to get my miles in 30 minutes! Reading usually involves me lying on my couch or porch, not moving for hours (ha! When I’m lucky! Otherwise, it’s reading in between getting up every 10 minutes…).
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  16. Diamond

    This is a great topic. I started listening to audiobooks more when work for crazy and I spend so much time in the car. I prefer to read though. It sucks when u wanna be active and read at the same time, though! I wish I had some better advice to give you!
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  17. Cait @ Notebook Sisters

    I listen to audio books when I go for a walk in the afternoon. It’s awesome. I only just started doing it, but I get through audio books really fast and it gives me something to do (gosh knows I can’t sit STILL and listen to an audio…I can’t focus if I’m not doing something). I feel the pain though. Read or be healthy? I mean. We shouldn’t have to make hard life decisions like that.
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