I switched music for audiobooks for my dumbbell workouts, and here's what changed

Music has always been my motivator, but audiobooks kept me going and helped improve my wellbeing

Man listening to audiobooks during exercise
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I don't try to hide it, but people are still surprised when they hear how often I listen to podcasts. Since 2016, I've listened to 162 days worth of shows, which is... a lot. But I love what I can learn from them, so I listen whenever I can.

I stick in a pair of the best workout earbuds, set up a playlist, and then go out for walks, do chores around the house, or even listen as I'm going to sleep. This is part of the reason I'm so invested in noise-canceling headphones, as it makes it easier to hear what's being said.

But I recently got a dog, which has wiped out my time to sit down with a book and read. I get a good dose of factual programming from podcasts, so I prefer reading fiction, which is why I've found myself reaching for audiobooks instead, including when I exercise.

If you want to give this change a try, but find it hard to justify the cost of audiobooks or monthly subscriptions, there's good news as Amazon Prime members can get three months of Audible Premium Plus (opens in new tab) entirely for free this Prime Day.

Amazon Prime Day Audible deal

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Audible Premium Plus | Was $44.85, now free at Audible (opens in new tab)
Prime members can claim a three-month subscription to Audible's top membership for free today. You get to download one premium title each month and get unlimited access to Audible's original audiobooks. Don't miss out on this incredibly rare offer this Prime Day. 

I've been working through the latest edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings (opens in new tab) trilogy. Peter Jackson's movie series will always be the definitive telling of this story for me, but the audiobook is brilliantly read by Andy Serkis, who famously played the envious Gollum in the films.

As much as I enjoy learning about the world around me, listening to the latest scientific findings, and understanding more about cultures around the world, if I'm honest, transporting myself off to these fictional places has been an immense relief.

The past few years have been difficult, and the internet makes it hard to break away from non-stop news coverage. That's why one of our writers even tried giving up social media for a month to protect their wellbeing.

I was worried that listening to audiobooks and podcasts would have a less positive impact on my workouts. I shouldn't have fretted, though, as listening to these stories has helped me find motivation to exercise as I want to find out what happens next.

But I haven't just spent my time delving into fantasy tales, as I used audiobooks as a chance to step back and look for more positive outlooks on the world instead, like Hans Rosling's excellent book Factfulness (opens in new tab), about how the world is really better than you think.

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James Frew
James Frew

James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.


In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.