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How to Read and Exercise at the Same Time

For the longest time, I thought people who could read and exercise at the same time were crazy. As their bodies bobbed on their machines, I was positive they were 5 minutes away from puking their guts out (it’s like the feeling you get when you read in the car, ugh).

But after I posted on Facebook about the crazies at the gym, I received some really awesome suggestions! I’ve tried a few and am now a believer in being able to read and exercise at the same time.

How to Read and Exercise at the Same Time

I just want to preface this by saying, I’m not a gym guru. I’m just a girl who reads a ton and needs to work out more. I found that reading at the gym really helped me stay motivated and interested in going.

10k someecards read and exercise


Pick Your Machine

I try to keep my gym routine fairly varied because I can get bored with the same ole, same ole quickly. I usually do my own thing two days and a week and cram in a class or two the rest of the time.

My machines of choice are the treadmill and the elliptical. I don’t really use the stationary bikes because I love the spin classes at my gym.

If you choose to read on the treadmill, crank up the incline. This way, you’re still working hard but avoiding the terrible head bobbing thing (bleh). I usually put mine at an incline of 7.

If you choose to read on the elliptical, select a workout program. This way you won’t have to manually change the resistance and potentially lose your place in your book (gasp!). Increasing the intensity also helps here too.

Like I said, I don’t really use the stationary bikes, BUT they seem like the easiest machine to read on. …Maybe I should reconsider them.

gym judging read and exercise


Choose Your Reading Material

To me, working out is all about staying interested and motivated. This sounds really sad, but for awhile my gym didn’t have very good TV channels. I was used to watching Family Matters and The Nanny (90s FTW!), then they switched times on me and dropped my fave channels. UGH!

After that, my interest in my workout and even going to the gym plummeted. My advice: pick a book that can seriously hold your attention.

Reading material suggestions:

  • Magazines – usually on hand at most gyms
  • Physical books – some machines even have stands for them to rest on
  • Kindle/Nook – this makes it really easy to read, no page turning here
  • Audiobooks – use Audible or similar sites with an app you can install on your phone
  • I haven’t tried Audible yet, but I’m really excited to give it a shot. My first step is to pick a book, but I think this is a fantastic option and one that is easy to transition to (especially if you normally listen to your iPod or Pandora while working out).

exercised once read and exercise


Keep It Fresh

Like I’ve been saying, to be able to read and exercise at the same time, you have to keep it fresh. Try listening to audiobooks one week and bring in your new fave ARC the next.

This idea that I once thought was crazy is something that motivates me to get my butt out of bed now. I’m not as fast of a reader as some of you crazies out there, so getting any extra reading time (even if it is at 6 a.m.) is a serious bonus for me.

Why not incorporate something we love into something we don’t as much (for me anyway).

exercise hate


What keeps you motivated to exercise? Have you tried to read and exercise at the same time?

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • Truly Bookish

    When I was running, I needed to listen to very fast music to keep pace but now that I’m walking, it’s all audiobooks for me. I get mine from my library’s Overdrive system and they do have an app so you can download directly to your phone. I also do workout DVD’s at home and listen to audios then too. I have not tried Audible yet either but I’ve good things about it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=49003731 Jenn Trujillo-Johnson

    I loved Audible. =)

  • http://twitter.com/heylisarenee Lisa!

    sometimes i only allow myself to listen to certain books at the gym! that way, if i really want to listen to it, i know i have to get out there and move.

    also, i really like listening to music while reading. it doesn’t have to have words or whatever, but i feel like occupying more senses makes the workout fly by faster!

    also also, love all of these someecards!

  • Paula Beatriz Peters

    The other day I saw (in a movie) a girl reading a book while doing push ups. I thought that was so crazy, but now I guess it’s actually possible to exercise and read at the same time… (Just found your blog and I loved it!)