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The inspiration for this post came from reading a column on the All About Romance blog by Leigh Davis entitled Do Readers Exercise?

I’m not somebody who enjoys exercise, and I generally hate going to the gym (it’s so bloody boring) but I do enjoy swimming and running, and because I’m aware that the older I get, the harder it gets to keep in shape, I try to make sure that I do at least one of the above physical activities per week. At the moment I run three miles (5km) every week, and various friends have been trying to get me to go to Zumba classes and spinning classes with them.

I’m going to Zumba class this week with one of my besties, but if I don’t enjoy it, or I don’t feel as if it’s actually doing anything for me, I wont bother going back. When I exercise, I want to see results. I want to sweat, and I want to feel energised. I’ve been reassured that I will experience all of the above after my Zumba class. We’ll see.

I go through periods of not exercising, but this certainly hasn’t been through excessive book-reading. Luckily for me, my work life is pretty active, and as I travel a lot, I never really feel unhealthy. Well, that is until my jeans start pinching, then I’m forced to cut out carbs and fat for a while.

The following excerpt from Leigh’s post struck me the most:

While poverty does play a part in the same states continuing to top the list, part of the reason also seems to be that if your friends are heavy, then it more acceptable for you to be heavy. If your friends exercise and incorporate a healthy lifestyle then you are more likely to do so, too.

This totally rings true for me. Most of my friends go to the gym regularly, and make it part of their every day life, so I guess I unconsciously feel the pressure to make sure I do the same.

Leigh also mentioned in her post about combining the two things by way of the audio book. I’d probably enjoy going to the gym more if I had a great book to listen to whilst on the treadmill.

I wonder what the stats would be if we got together all the avid book readers in the world and assessed the amount of exercises they undertook on a weekly basis. I suspect that at least 70% of us would be declared unfit, and unhealthy.

What say you? How often do you exercise?


  • I exercise 4-5 times a week, even getting up at 5am during the week. But then again I used to be 90lbs overweight and live in fear of being that weight again so I’m a bit obsessed with working out.

    Just like reading, exercising has become my way of life.


  • I exercise about five days a week, taking a brisk 2-3 mile walk. I weigh 40 lbs. less and am in better shape than I was in my 20’s, and it’s a great way to relieve stress. In addition, I find it frees up my mind for plotting–I carry a small notepad and pencil with me if inspiration strikes–so exercise is a good thing all the way around.


  • I exercise at least five days a week, although that is partially in support of becoming a better dancer, as I practice belly dance and would like to look and feel comfortable enough to perform.

    But I swim every weekday, and do a fair number of strength exercises and stretches, as well as my dance practice. I’m actually an anomaly in my social circle, I don’t think any of my close friends make much of an effort to exercise. Some are naturally on the slender side, some are naturally on the heavy side. My boyfriend, his friends, and all their girlfriends are into fitness, however.


  • willaful
    July 26
    4:49 pm

    I do aerobics 6x a week (had to stop myself doing 7), weights 3X, ride my bike for transportation and dance several times a week. Having books to read/listen to definitely helps, though lately I’ve been doing classes so reading less.

    I don’t think most of my social circle exercises that much, except some of my dancing friends.


  • Okay, I loathe, hate and abhor working out. And I do it anyway.

    generally 4 days out of the week, I run. I was doing 2-3 miles each time, but some medical problems this year knocked me down and I had to start back at one mile, building back up, now I’m at 2 miles again.

    I also do cardio machines 2-3 times a week at the Y, sometimes weights.

    I started doing it because I hit a weight I couldn’t tolerate. Dropped 60 lbs. I still need to lose more but I’m healthier now than I was 2 years ago.


  • ME2
    July 26
    7:51 pm

    I rarely do. I hate it. I acutally envy those who hate it but do it anyway. Just as I envy those who actually like it.


  • Las
    July 27
    1:20 am

    I do two “official” workouts a week at the gym, all strength-training. I lift heavy and I’m pretty active generally, so I don’t bother with cardio.


  • e_bookpushers
    July 27
    3:08 am

    I exercise between 4-6 days a week. Sometimes twice a day but I am slacking on that lately lol. Part of that is because of my day job the rest is because I love to eat.


  • I exercise daily because it helps to keep my stress levels and anxiety down. I’d like to read more, actually. I used to read a book a day. Lately it’s been a book a week, or even a book a month when I’m super busy. Sucks!


  • Thank you for an unusual post. I try and get to the gym, spin class, walk or swim 4-5 times a week. On holiday I like to walk, cycle or body board. I love the outdoors. I used to be in a running club but got a serious Achilles injury so had to stop. I’m a bit overweight and quite short, lol, but I dread to think what I’d be like if I didn’t exercise at all. The lifestyle of a writer is not a healthy one, and it’s very stressful, so exercise helps me cope in so many ways.


  • Anon 76
    July 27
    8:48 pm

    Woof. Exercise? No way. But that is only because I log about 17,000 steps per day at work while throwing boxes like a UPS driver. A normal day is a minimum 4 tons of boxes at 35 lbs a piece.

    Now if I could only find time to read more in my off time rather than falling into a quivering heap in the chair at the end of the day, that would be sweet.


  • I exercise every day now and enjoy it, mainly because I decided to be realistic about myself and accept the fact that if my routine included types of exercise I despise (e.g. running -it hurts!) I was always going to find excuses not to do it. So now I do loads of yoga and pilates, and for my cardio I walk fast enough to raise my heartbeat. Obviously I need to walk a lot longer than I would have had to run, for the same results, but I’ve got an ipod full of podcasts (loads of Radio 4 stuff, but also film and book review programmes, comedy show like the fantastic Answer Me This, etc), so I never get bored.


  • You guys are waaay healthier than me!


  • I used to workout 4x a week for years and thought it was good enough. Then about a year and a half ago I started working out (almost) every day and now at 42 I’ve never been fitter in my life than I am right now. I take kickbox, spin, bootcamp, strength training classes and Zumba at my local Y. I also swim 2x a week, run and cycle outdoors. I just competed in my first duathlon (run-bike-run) about two weeks ago and am doing my first sprint triathlon in September. And I read romance in my spare time. Ha! 😉

    I agree that if your friends exercise, you’re more likely to as well. I have a set of friends with whom I exercise at the gym and outside running and biking and we do race events together. We often laugh how other friends text each other and say “hey, what’s up? want to go out for dinner or a drink?” WE text each other and say, “hey, what’s up? wanna meet for a 30 mile ride tomorrow morning at 6am?”

    I hope you like Zumba. I love it, but some of my friends get frustrated trying to get the moves right. I suggest you get close to the instructor–right behind him or her if you can, because it will help you learn the moves more quickly and you’ll get a better workout trying to keep up. Don’t be embarrassed about ‘messing up’ the steps. Just give it your all and have fun!


  • I went to my first Zumba class today. It was fun.

    “I suggest you get close to the instructor–right behind him or her if you can, because it will help you learn the moves more quickly”

    @Christine That’s exactly what I did, I was right behind the instructor because everybody else went to the back of the room. The moves came easily to me, but then I’m used to hip-hop vids where the moves are impossible to copy.

    My only issue was that I didn’t feel that my heart rate was going fast enough, and I was putting lots of effort into doing ‘big moves’. I guess though that running non-stop for 3 miles probably means that most other exercises wont feel as strenuous.


  • Good to hear you had fun at Zumba!

    I don’t think there IS anything as strenuous as running! Very high impact. I can’t run more than a 5k twice a week because then I get too many aches and pains. I had planter fasciitis last year that took 9 months of low impact only workouts before it went away. Now I’m probably overly cautious about the distances and frequency of my runs just to stay injury-free, but I have to take care of this old body. No one else will. 😉


  • You guys are waaay healthier than me!

    I eat a ton of sugar, so that pretty much balances out the exercise. In conclusion, not really.


  • On a hiatus from hapkido since 2008 because of work…and pure laziness. (Well, I still do 100 sit-ups and push-ups every night.) Since I’m done classes for the summer, I did my first yoga class ever last night. It kicked my flabby ass. Masochist that I am, I’m going to fit in at least four yoga sessions per week until September when I start school again. Then it’ll go down to one or two.

    A buddy’s making me join his Saturday boot camp so I don’t embarrass myself when I have to go up more than one flight of stairs. I might see my six pack again one day.

    I’ll resume hapkido after the MBA is done.


  • Edie
    July 31
    10:45 am

    I am in awe of you guys!

    I used to do the gym several times a week, and walk twice a week, but the past two years my life has been overtaken by three jobs. I can barely find the energy, much less the time to exercise now. And I have turned to utter flab. 🙁


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