Reading is an amazing activity, it provides people with fantastic benefits, and promotes a mindful and mentally healthy lifestyle. Even though (perhaps somewhat unexpectedly) it also provides certain health benefits for your body, we cannot deny the fact that it does encourage a sedentary lifestyle. Reading is generally associated with sitting, laying in bed or on a couch, perhaps even with a glass of wine or a cup of tea in hand.
Here at Basmo, we often wonder what options we have to exercise while reading a book and what exercises to do while reading. If you wondered the same thing, you’re in luck. We did the right research and we have all the answers you will need.
Should you exercise while reading?
Even though reading while doing cardio at the gym might be the last thing on your mind, you should know a couple of things about mixing these activities together. First of all, yes, it is possible to exercise while reading a book. It does take some getting used to and it won’t come naturally at first, but in time, you are going to start enjoying this habit quite a lot.
Secondly, you definitely should try exercising while reading. There is a huge number of benefits you can enjoy if you do it. Here are some of the most important ones.
1. You multitask and save time
Nowadays, time is our most valuable resource. Between a full-time job, taking care of a family, running errands, and doing the house chores, we are often tempted to completely ignore our own needs and rarely take time for ourselves. And on those rare occasions when we do find some time for ourselves, we generally need to choose between different relaxing activities: whether it’s reading, exercising, or watching TV, we always seem to ignore one desire in favor of another.
Multitasking, even though it has been debunked as a myth, is still possible to a certain extent. You might not do two things at once, but switching your focus from one activity to another only takes a couple of milliseconds. If the two activities are not strongly connected and use different parts of the brain, you can easily achieve your max potential in both.
That being said, the next time you find yourself wondering if you should read a book or go to the gym, try doing a couple of exercises while reading. That way you save time and you do twice as much for yourself.
2. You keep your body and mind healthy
Exercising is of utmost importance for our health. Being physically active keeps us fit, maintains our cardiovascular health, and has the potential to prevent a huge series of sedentarism-related diseases. Exercising makes us feel good and helps us live a longer and happier life.
The things reading does to your brain are very similar to the ones physical activity does to your body. Reading keeps your brain healthy and active, it exercises its abilities and keeps it in top shape for longer. Mixing these two activities together could be a great way to exercise your body and mind at the same time.
3. You relieve stress
One thing that is absolutely certain is that reading does wonders for your mental health, including being a very effective stress relief tool and a healthy alternative for anxiety and depression treatments.
As you work out, your body releases endorphins, which make you feel good. You breathe more and deeper, which helps your brain get more oxygen. As little as a couple of minutes of reading has been found to reduce stress levels by more than 60%. Combining the two activities can only be a winning strategy to combat stress and to relieve the pressure of our daily lives.
4. You could enjoy reading and exercising more
We are all different from one another. While some of us enjoy reading a book more than working out, others are the exact opposite and would choose to go for a run any time instead of reading. That means that for some, reading can be more fun if they are working out at the same time, while for others, working out can be a more pleasant activity if they also read during this time.
Reading can take your mind off the effort you are putting into your workout if you are not a big fan of physical activity, and working out can take your mind off the fact that you are reading if that is not your cup of tea.
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How to exercise while reading a book?
Finding the right training regime or the perfect exercises to do while reading a book can be challenging. As one of my personal trainers once told me, if it were easy, anybody would do it. If you want to learn how to take full advantage of your spare time and combine reading with exercising to maintain your body and mind healthy, you should know that there are a couple of things you should always factor in.
1. Be careful not to injure yourself
The most important thing to be mindful of is that every single time you exercise, you expose yourself to the potential risk of injury. That is why you should always follow a couple of rules, especially if you want to also read while working out. Warming up is essential, and you should definitely not read during this stage of your workout. Make sure to do your warmup correctly, never skip any of its steps, and pay attention to your body while you do it.
If you are planning a joint reading and training session, you should keep in mind that your surroundings need to be as clear as possible. You should consider the fact that your hands are going to be busy holding the book, and your vision is going to be obstructed while reading. Always factor that in when you’re planning your training sessions.
2. You can do it both indoors and outdoors
Whether you prefer to work out indoors or outside in the sun and fresh air, reading is also an option. As long as you make sure you do it safely, both working out and reading can be as fun at home or at the gym as they are in the park or in your garden.
It is a matter of preference, and the only way to figure out what you like best is to try both ways and decide which one works best for you. Finding your ideal training spot and regime is going to make the experience a whole lot better and you are certainly going to benefit from it in the long run.
3. Choose exercises that are not too demanding
Focusing on your training as you read can be a bit challenging. That is why it is important to make the right choices in terms of exercises. You should choose exercises you’ve been doing for a long time and you are very comfortable with. If you want to be able to focus both on reading and on training at the same time, you are going to carefully choose how you work out.
You should be able to do these while-reading exercises with a certain level of automatism. You should have perfect form when performing them and it is very important to be comfortable with the way your body moves when you are doing them. If you can’t do them without putting too much thought into them, they are not the right exercises to do while reading.
4. Use Basmo to keep your reading and training organized and well-structured
Last but not least, you should be organized. You can’t simply start training and reading whenever you feel like it. Your training regime needs to have a well-designed structure if you want to be as efficient as possible and enjoy good results.
Basmo is a reading tracking app that can completely change the way you read and train. While it was designed to help people find joy in reading and pushing their limits as readers, it can work very well for those who also want to integrate a training regime into their reading habits. Here’s why.
With Basmo, you can create a personalized schedule. The app encourages you to select certain days of the week when you want to schedule reading sessions and even different times of the day so you can adjust this activity based on your weekly routine. This can help you choose the exact windows in your daily schedule when you can squeeze in a couple of minutes for yourself.
On top of being completely customizable to meet every single one of your needs, the scheduling feature will also remind you of the upcoming reading and training sessions so you don’t skip any of them.
I mentioned before that choosing the right exercises to do while reading is very important. Just as important is how you choose the book you read while training. Some books simply require all of your attention, while others are easier to read.
Basmo encourages you to create reading lists. The lists can be customized and personalized and you can create as many as you want. Nothing is stopping you from creating a reading list filled with books that can be easily read while training.
On top of this, Basmo allows you to set goals for your reading. You can choose both a daily goal for the minutes you spend reading every day and a yearly goal for the number of books you go through in a year, but the daily goal is the one that works best in our case.
If you set a goal to read (and train) for 20 minutes every day, you will have a bit of extra motivation from the app because it will help you visualize meeting your goals and it will time your sessions.
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What exercises you can do while reading?
It’s finally time to check out a couple of good exercises to do while reading. Of course, your personal experience can be different and you could prefer a different way to train, but these are some of the most popular choices. Reading at the gym might not be your cup of tea, so perhaps you will prefer to set up a home gym or do other exercises with your own body weight where no machines are required. It is entirely up to you to decide.
1. Walking or running on a treadmill
Treadmills are amazing fitness machines. They can allow you to walk or run without actually needing too much space. Not only do they provide you with the same benefits as a walk or run in the park, but they also allow you to pay less attention to your physical activity. Not having to worry about where you are going and eliminating obstacles completely from the equation leaves room for other activities that can be done while working out. Like reading.
Reading while running on walking on a treadmill is one of the safest and most effective choices out there. It leaves your hands free, you can easily focus on what you are reading, and your heart rate is going to stay up for as long as you want, providing huge cardiovascular benefits. And the great thing about it is that you can do it both at the gym and at home if you invest in a treadmill.
2. Walking in the park
If you prefer to do your workouts and reading outdoors, walking in the park can be a great choice for you. You will benefit from being out in the sun and fresh air and you are likely to have a pretty wholesome experience if you also choose to read while taking a walk in the park or in nature.
The thing you should always factor in is that you are not going to focus on reading as well as you would on a treadmill because you are constantly going to look where you are going to make sure you don’t hurt yourself or others around you.
3. Use a fitness bike
Reading while on exercise bike can be a great experience. It is a great way to train, it works out plenty of muscle groups, and it is an amazing form of cardio training. On top of this, it also leaves your hands free (if you have good balance) so you can easily read while doing this exercise.
It is a very comfortable alternative to walking and running on a treadmill, and the motions are natural enough to leave your mind unoccupied enough to be able to focus on reading. Also, the exercise is simple enough for you to be able to do it for quite a long time, giving you the opportunity to read a lot.
Squats are some of the most effective fat-burning exercises out there. That’s because they involve some of the largest muscles in our bodies, which in turn means that we are burning a pretty big amount of calories in our training.
They come naturally for most of us, since pretty much every one of us has done them from early childhood, and that makes them a great choice for a reading and training session.
There are many benefits you can enjoy if you decide to exercise while reading a book. Now that you know how to choose the exercises to do while reading and you also have Basmo as your reading and training buddy, there is nothing stopping you from staying healthy and fit.
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