Most of us workout to music. We hit the gym with our headphones, sweating it out to songs we stream from our smartphones on playlists we curate to help us work harder.
And why wouldn’t we? Listening to music can increase our athletic performance by up to 15%.
There’s a good reason why headphones and EarHugz are our go-to gym accessories.
But we’ve all suffered playlist fatigue at one time or another. You know the feeling: when you’ve been sweating it out to the same songs all year and the music just isn’t cutting it. It’s when you know which track is coming next, and which rep, which lap, which kilometre, you’ll be on when the next song drops. There’s only so many times you can keep hitting shuffle.
We all understand the benefit of mixing-up our workouts, keeping our regimens fresh to help build our fitness, so why should we be surprised that it could help us to mix-up our sound, too.
And we don’t just mean switching from Guns n’ Roses to Pearl Jam or Beyonce to Bach. Humans have been telling stories for at least as long as they’ve been making music, so why not add some spoken word to your workout.
Audiobooks are a great way to do this, and there’s no reason why an audiophile used to superior sound quality through headphones in the gym can’t also become a bibliophile.
What is an Audiobook?
An audiobook is a digital voice recording where a narrator reads written text aloud for the benefit of the listener. One of the most common ways to enjoy an audiobook is through an app on a smartphone or tablet often via a paid subscription service like Audible or on websites like Open Culture where the classics are often available for free.
ProTip - Check the digital catalogue of your local library. Audio e-books are available to download for free as long as you’re a member. Depending on the county you live in, you’ll find a good mix of modern and classic tales covering fiction and non-fiction.
Originally known as talking books, audiobooks have been around since the early 1930s, when the American Foundation for the Blind started recording stories for the visually impaired. Globally, the audiobook industry is worth around $US 3.5 billion, and it shows little sign of slowing down.
Audiobooks Let Us Multitask in the Gym
We probably all wish that we had more time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and whilst hitting the gym might be your do-or-die habit, what about reading or learning? How many unread books are sitting on your bedside table or on your bookshelf? When was the last time you used your library card or lost yourself in a fictitious world that wasn’t played out on a screen? The best thing about audiobooks is that they allow us to multitask. You can listen when you’re lifting or find out whodunnit? as you clock a new personal best, and if we’re working our bodies, then shouldn’t we work our grey matter, too? As we get bigger, faster, stronger and fitter we can widen our literary horizons, be entertained, and maybe even learn something along the way.
Audiobooks can help us exercise for longer
They’re great motivators, too, especially if you only allow yourself to listen when you’re exercising. This carrot and stick approach could be enough to get you up and moving when you least feel willing to. Getting caught up in what’s going on with a story is a great excuse to run that little bit further or add some extra reps to your routine just to get to the end of that chapter. For those of you still working out to THAT 90s seminal album, this could be just what you need to push yourself. Don’t underestimate the power of NEEDING to know what’s next. It’s why so many of us suffer from those morning-after-a-Netflix-marathon hangovers...am I right?
Some Audiobooks Are Long (Really Long)
Based on the average length of a novel (and the time it takes to read it), an audiobook usually runs somewhere between eight and thirteen hours, so there's plenty of bang for your buck. What’s great, too, is that some books can see you through a LOT of training: The Sherlock Holmes collection, narrated by Stephen Fry, is a whopping seventy-two hours long. Ideal if you’re training for a marathon but you won’t have to wait for Sherlock Holmes to work out whodunnit? It’ll be easy — you did.
Seventy-two hours and you won’t have to press skip or shuffle once.
Audiobooks Can Teach You Something New
It’s not just about having an entertaining distraction from exhaustion; audiobooks give you the chance to learn something, too. There’s plenty of self-help and non-fiction titles covering everything from how to handle anxiety, how to sedate a demonic toddler with psychology, or how to build a shed from scratch. There are biographies, autobiographies and instruction manuals. You could learn a language, fathom the intricacies of cosmology, read about the dangers of sugar addiction or hear about the life of Arnold Schwarzenegger in ‘Total Recall: My Unbelievable Life Story’, and all this whilst you’re working out. Whatever you’re into or whatever you’d like to get into, there’s an audiobook for it.
Maybe you’re listening to audiobooks during exercise because you’re sick of your playlist, or maybe it’s because you want to multitask or motivate yourself to work harder. Maybe it’s an incentive. It could be because audiobooks have a longer runtime than the average album or because you want to learn something. Maybe you just like a good story, and whatever the reason we’d love to know why and what it is that you enjoy listening to.
Whether you're working out to songs or stories, EarHugz will protect your headphones from moisture damage caused by excessive sweating during exercise. EarHugz are anti-bacterial, machine washable, waterproof and they fit on the full range of Beats, Bose, Sony and Philips headphones (and many others).
They can be super discreet, too. Nobody in the gym needs to know you’re listening to Mary Berry’s biography (we don’t know much about soggy bottoms, but we do know all about soggy headphone cushions so…)