Listening to music while you run, walk briskly or engage in other forms of exercise can benefit your workout by affecting your mood, emotions and even cognition. In a previous issue of Well-Being, staff writer Brian Parr, ACSM Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist, addressed how music enhances exercise performance in a number of ways, both psychologically and physiologically. It can make the time spent exercising seem to go by faster by providing a mental distraction from fatigue and make workouts more enjoyable and effective. So, what if you take these principles and apply them to listening to audible books and podcasts? You have just gleaned a whole block of time to catch up on your summer reading wish list without taking time away from your regular workout regimen.
According to Chris Friesen, an author and clinical psychologist who specializes in sport and performance psychology, there is now evidence that people are more open to new information and more creative while running. It appears when one is running the brain creates space for processing ideas.
When reading on the run, runners also report that they find the pace of their running may vary with the level of drama in the story they are hearing, much as it does when listening to music. During a suspenseful episode in a mystery thriller, runners may find the intensity of their run picking up, likewise, during more serene passages their pace moderates and they become more relaxed.
Friesen and other enthusiasts of reading on the run caution runners to not become so engrossed while listening to audio books that they fail to pay proper attention to hazards of the road. One suggestion is to use only one earbud so you can still hear ambient noise of the road, track or trail, or use headphones that are designed so you can still hear what is going on around you.
Listening to audio books is a great way for book lovers in a hurry to return to their former reading habits without sacrificing time from other daily time-burners. For some dyed-in-the-wool multi-taskers, it’s the perfect chance to reclaim time they once found intellectually unproductive.
Amazon recommends some new titles to consider for reading on the run this summer: