Get Your Exercise The Geeky Way With Audiobooks

Many of us could do with a bit more exercise. Jobs and hobbies are more sedentary than ever, and getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day does a body good.

But, ick. Starting is hard. I tried putting together playlists of my favorite songs to make all that time hitting the pavement more fun. When that didn’t take my mind off the sweating and the little aches and twinges that feel so much more dramatic when you’re exercising, I tried making playlists of cloyingly upbeat and sugary pop songs. I tried “motivational” songs the one from that old Gatorade commercial. None of it helped. Exercising was still the most unpleasant part of my day.

Then, on a whim, I bought the audiobook for Rosemary’s Baby, and after just a few minutes of listening, it changed my workouts forever. Whereas I used to dread lacing up my shoes and stepping outside on a hot day, soon I grew to regret seeing my house come back into view, because it meant the story was over for the day. When Rosemary’s Baby ended, I picked up The Hobbit, and at that point the habit really solidified.

I’ve traveled with the boys of middle earth, roamed the Hogwarts castle, faced down zombie hordes, and enjoyed epic battles of various flavors all while walking and running around local parks and nature trails.

Currently I’m enjoying the original Star Wars radio drama in celebration of all the new Star Wars news coming out. Aside from starting off in the bleak, oven-like desert landscape of Tatooine, going to a galaxy far, far away is great for when you want your mind elsewhere during exercise.

A few helpful suggestions for getting started:

  1. Always listen to a sample of the book you’re buying; some narrators can just rub you the wrong way.
  2. Unless it’s a big favorite of yours, try new books instead of one’s you’ve read before. Part of the motivation to get out the door is to find out what happens next.
  3. Ask your local library if they offer audiobook downloads. While many libraries still rely on CDs, many others have partnered with sites like to offer digital audiobooks.
  4. Radio shows aren’t as numerous but there’s some real gems out there. Two of my favorites are Cabin Pressure and Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully.
  5. Use reasonable common sense for the sake of your well-being. If you’re exercising outdoors, don’t be oblivious to your surroundings.

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