How to Help a Bookworm Read & Exercise at the Same Time

Let’s be honest. I hate exercising. It isn’t just rheumatoid arthritis that makes it hard to do (because it does). I’ve always hated doing exercising. I prefer to be on the couch curled up with a good book and a decent cup of coffee. It has, however, been pointed out by several well-meaning (if not annoying) loved ones that exercise is important for good physical and mental health. Admittedly, I’d like to have both my brains and my body shapely. That means it’s time to find exercises only a bookworm would love. Do they even exist? Oh yes, my Litterateur. Oh yes.

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Is Exercise Good For Bookworms?

My Workout Is Reading In Bed Until My Arms Hurt

How many times have you been told that exercising is good for you? A million, probably. If you haven’t been told, where have you been? Under a rock?

Anyway, Mayo Clinic says that exercise:

  • controls your mood
  • boosts your energy level
  • combats all sorts of icky diseases
  • encourages a good night’s sleep
  • is fun and social (No. Really.)
  • puts a spark back in that relationship (wink, wink)

But reading books is good for you too! Unfortunately, taking a trip to a fantasy world in your head or flipping pages in a book doesn’t count as cardiovascular exercise.

Despite that, there are many benefits to reading a book. Various sources tell us that reading books:

  • sharpens the brain
  • empathy develops
  • de-stresses you
  • helps you sleep better

Huh. Are you seeing the parallels here? I sure am! Unfortunately, turning a page doesn’t get the old heart a pumpin’ (unless it’s an adult-only scene, then I try to turn the page and get on with the rest of the book). So, how can we gain the benefits of both reading and exercise?

So glad you asked.

Can Bookworms Exercise?

If you request that Dr. Google forage for information, he will oblige you. In this case, he returned with over 400,000 results, which is low by most standards. Anyway, in the midst of those 400k results are some exercises that you might want to try, which helps tone your arms so you can turn all the book pages you want.

11 Exercises That’ll Make Book Lovers Excited to Work Out by Farrah Penn and Pedro Fequeire

Love the subtitle: Books aren’t just meant for reading. No, they’re meant to be read while you work out. The exercises seem simple and easy-to-do. Plus you can read to keep your mind off the sweat rolling down your back.

Book-lover Workout: Read AND Exercise at the Same Time! by Lydia Di Franscesco

A video workout that demonstrates how to exercise while reading a book. A few exercises from ’11 Exercises That’ll Make Book Lovers Excited to Work Out’ crossover, which didn’t bother me as I found the video easier to follow. To each their own, though.

The Reader’s Workout at Parnassus Books
My favorite of the bunch because it’s presented by real people doing real exercise in an actual bookshop. How cool is that? And they’ve broken down the book-lover’s workout into three simple steps:

Lift book.

From that simple combination, they added more complexity (but not too much). You even learn something too. Did you know a bookshop does ‘flapping’, which means they turn the inner flap to the signature page so an author can sign it easily? And, if you do it fast enough, it’s an aerobic exercise! Who knew?

Of the additional exercises they recommend, I would love to walk the shop dog. Unfortunately, our local bookshop only has a shop cat. He’s a sweetie and the size of a small dog, but I doubt he’d let anyone put him on a leash for a walk.

Hogwarts Running Club
I had no idea that Hogwarts had a running club but they do, apparently, and it’s dedicated to those who love the Harry Potter books, running, and walking. It’s a virtual running club, by the way, so you can do all the running and walking in your hometown or wherever you are at your own pace. The ‘finish line’ is in days or weeks with a total amount of mileage accumulated over that time. I’ve done a few, and it’s a lot of fun. And it’s free to join too!

Walk to Rivendell at the Eowyn Challenge
Walk to Rivendell is a walking program based on Frodo and company’s trek to Rivendell (448 miles!). It’s been a great inspiration to many Tolkien book lovers to get out of their hobbit hole’s and take a daily constitutional. Any type of exercise is acceptable and 1 mile is equal to 20 minutes of brisk walking.

While some get to Rivendell and are happy with that success, a few go on to Mount Doom. Either way, grab your friends and start your epic journey today!

Don’t Exercise Alone

Misery loves company, right? Take a friend with you. Or at least reach out to someone, either in person or on the Internet that can commiserate with you. Try one of these online communities.

Community for Bookworms Who Need Love to Exercise
Reading by oneself is mandatory (unless you’re playing the Bring Your Own Book game). But exercise is more fun when there’s someone to share the misery and commiserate with. That’s why communities like #ReadersWorkouts on Joy’s Book Blog are important.

Nerd Fitness
Okay, not a bookworm site but it is dedicated to fitness for a class of people called ‘nerds’ who tend to enjoy reading. So, that kind of classifies them as bookworms, right? Right! Let’s go with that.

Anyway, they love to help “people with desk jobs that love nerd culture, games, books, and movies, but also know they need to make healthier choices in their day to day lives.” I’m down with that. And the best part is that they have free online forums and resources but also some paid options, too.

[insert your name here] Bookworm Exercise Group
Yep, I went there. You’re an introvert. I am too. You’d rather read than exercise. Totally with you.


You can do both (as I’ve pointed out above). Therefore, get your readerly butt out of that chair — wait! not until you’re done with this post! — and grab a few friends and go walking, or running, or swimming, or whatever.

Or, get a virtual race going on with some bookworm pals you have on Goodreads, Facebook, or Booktube. Just get some exercise, okay?

Bookworms Can Exercise!

I started this post feeling gross just thinking about exercising. I’ve got a ton of books to read (have you even seen my Instagram lately?!). But writing about reading and exercising has gotten me excited. Maybe I can do a few exercises just to keep myself limber. What do you think? Ready to get some exercise this year?

Tell me in the comments if you’re a bookworm and exercise or not! 

April Hayman, Author | How to Help A Bookworm Read & Exercise at the Same Time

2 thoughts on “How to Help a Bookworm Read & Exercise at the Same Time”

  1. Thanks for sending folks to #ReadersWorkouts on my blog — we love including new people! It’s motivating to have a weekly check-in.

    I’m definitely trying that video of exercises with books. It’s been too cold here to exercise outdoors and I’m getting bored with my exercise DVDs. Thanks for giving me something new to play with!

    1. Joy, it wasmy pleasure to link to your blog. I agree that it’s a but cool to walk outside right now but that video is a lot of fun (there’s even some I can do!).

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