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Surprising Science

Learning to Love the Treadmill

Pounding away on a machine is so boring—unless you’ve got Keith Richards with you. Author Julia Sweeney explains how she got hooked on audiobooks and learned to love exercising. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Looking for a way to make exercise less boring and more enjoyable? So was Julia Sweeney. After wasting hours making music play lists, she discovered the audiobook: “When I first considered listening to audiobooks, I was snobby about it. In my opinion, only the blind could listen to audiobooks with dignity. I figured people who listened to audiobooks were those who needed to be read to—like children. I imagined halfwits who listened to romance novels while eating sweets. But that is all wrong.”

What’s the Big Idea?

There are rules Sweeney recommends to make your workout more enjoyable. It takes the same discipline, she says, that compels you to exercise in the first place: “You have to discipline yourself not to listen to the audiobook unless you’re on the treadmill. Then the workouts become something you look forward to, something you move up in your day instead of procrastinating about. It is the key. You will find yourself wondering, what is going to happen next? I better get my butt on that treadmill.” She provides a list of her favorite audiobooks at The Guardian.


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