It’s officially 2018 and everyone’s scrambling to compile a New Year’s resolution list or buzzword, because apparently that’s a thing now. Most people’s lists include the usual shame-residue from going out on the previous year with a bang: drink less, exercise more, save money, etc. While readers and writers’ lists generally don’t include these resolutions, we make our lists none the less: read X-number of books, write X-number of words a day, etc.
While I’m not going to implore you to make 2018 the year you look like an ad for Hydroxycut, I am going to suggest that you add “daily walks” to your 2018 New Year’s Resolutions list because not only will it make you a healthier, more energetic person, but this ultimate fitness plan will also help you hit your reading goals while making you a better writer. “Tell me more,” you say? Glad you asked….
How the Ultimate Fitness Plan for Readers & Writers Works
Like all truly good plans, the ultimate fitness plan for readers and writers is stupidly simple. All you need is:
- Half an hour
- A decent pair of walking or running shoes
- A subscription to Audiobooks.com
Just in case this thing hasn’t put itself together for you, here’s how the plan works:
- Reluctantly stop doing whatever you’re doing at your computer. Put the shoes on.
- Grab your headphones. Check the time or start your fitness tracker app (I’m a big fan of the Map My Run app. It tracks runs and walks as well as bike rides, time on the treadmill, etc.)
- Turn on your favorite audiobook and away you go!
Keep in mind that the fast your walk, the more calories you burn (duh). I always challenge myself to hustle when I walk. I aim for a 15-minute mile pace. It doesn't always happen, but A-for-effort, right? Note that you'll achieve best / most obvious results by walking at least 30 minutes per day at least five days per week. Do also make sure that your physician concurs that this type and level of exercise is right for you before endeavoring on this ultimate workout.
How You Can Get Fit by Just Walking
So, true story. When I met my husband and we were just dating, I used to take walks and he—a guy who’s since done Crossfit, Kettlebell, and all of the other crap in a sweaty gym that I have 0.0 interest in, scoffed at me saying, “Walking isn’t going to make a difference.”
I respectfully disagreed by continuing to walk, and he kept walking with me. This all transpired at a time in my life where I was very unhappy about my weight and was determined to get fit and healthy the right way. By that I mean I wasn’t going to resort to unhealthy disordered eating habits. I was just going to eat like a normal person and exercise like a normal person.
The road ahead was long, but after a few months, I started to see real results. I had actually lost weight, and unlike a crash diet or a toxic binge / purge cycle, the weight was staying off. My paramour had noticed that he, too, was losing weight (he often walked with me) and finally, grudgingly admitted that walking really did make a difference.
Specifically, according to the good people at the Mayo Clinic, here’s how walking improves your health:
- It helps you maintain a healthy weight (this I was able to observe)
- It helps reduce high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes
- It improves your energy levels, mood, and coordination (sweet)
- It strengthens your bones and muscles
How to Make Time for Your Health
I was a graduate student when I transformed my health by walking. Because I was a student, it was easy to walk whenever. A few years later, however, I was working full time as an underpaid technical writer at a university. Because of the time of my commute and the fact that I was often too tired to exercise at the end of the work day, I opted to get my walk in during the day.
My boss at the job was a real stickler for rules (specifically, being on time), so I was careful to take my federally-required breaks (we never discussed it, but I thought she’d appreciate my compliance with policy). Usually, I’d just grab and empty file folder and walk purposefully out of the office and then walk around the campus for 15 minutes twice a day or for 30 minutes once a day. Mission accomplished.
My point is that there are loopholes as to when you can work out. For example, I had a different boss (way more relaxed lady) shortly before I started to work full-time as a writer and editor. Because she allowed us to come in at a more traffic-friendly 8:30 or 9:00 a.m., I could get my workout in before going to the office.
How Listening to Audiobooks Improves Your Workout
As my personal and professional life changed, so have the times where I can work out. There have been times where the only time I can work out is in the afternoon, after my husband gets home, after a long day of work and of keeping our children from tearing up the house. By that time, I’m tired, and I just want to hide with a glass of wine. Forget health. Forget body.
Thus, I needed new motivation. Cue the hero: audiobooks saved the day. When I started listening to audiobooks while I walked, not only did I want to start walking longer, but I was also incredibly motivated to get out there and walk because that was the only way I was going to find out what happened next!
By making audiobooks an integral part of your workout, you’re not only adding to your motivation to get out there and exercise, but you’re also hitting your resolutions for books to “read” (and yes, I know it’s not technically reading, but it still counts). Writers, as you know, you’re improving your craft by listening to stories. Additionally, multiple MRI and other studies have shown that reading improves your cognitive functioning. While these studies haven’t included audiobooks, I feel sure that the benefits of immersing one’s self in the written word has similar benefits.
That said, I’ve been able to “read” every book Liane Moriarty has written thanks to audiobooks (only one had a pitiful reader) as well as the entire Robert Langdon series by Dan Brown. I like to go back and forth between a fun novel and a book on writing (like Stephen King’s On Writing or a refresher of the essential Strunk & White’s The Elements of Style).
So, to review, make the most of 2018, get in the best shape of your life, and read to satisfy your booklist resolutions as well as to improve your craft by committing to the ultimate fitness plan for readers and writers. As one who’s been doing this for years and who is in the best shape of her life (even after having four children), I can attest to the plan, the heart of which is my passion for well-read, well-told stories. (Thanks, Audiobooks.com!)
Make 2018 your best year yet by being healthy and by sticking to your commitments to yourself. Read all of the books on your list with the help of Audiobooks.com; learn the nuances of fine storytelling by listening to your favorite reads over and over. Get in tip-top shape and feel energized and incentivized to write like you’ve never written before.
If you want more information about how to juggle being a healthy reader or writer in with your passions for reading and writing, don’t hesitate to contact me, Vonnie York. I’m more than happy to help you help yourself.
Note: This post contains affiliate links (no, seriously), which means that I might be compensated for purchases made through those links.
P.S. How Audiobooks.com Works
Okay, so if you're like me, you hate wasting money, and you hate when people you like and trust try to sell crap to you. I'm the same way except that I really do love and use Audbiobooks.com. Here's why:
- A low monthly fee ($14.95), and I can cancel at any time.
- Any book I "purchase" with my monthly credit, I keep (sweet!) even if I cancel
- They offer loads of free classics (you know, things from the literary canon that you pretend to read in high school)
- You can download straight from the app (unlike on other audiobooks apps)
It's awesome sauce, and I'm telling you this as a paying user of this product. Audiobooks.com does not pay for my monthly habit...I mean subscription.