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Getting a Move On

The Walking Book Club Brings Functional Fitness to a Busy Lifestyle

Article by Lauren Johnson

Photography by Elle Kaminski Creatives & Fourteen Acres Photography

Originally published in Bridgewater City Lifestyle

Exercise is part of a healthy routine, but in a fast-paced world, sometimes finding just five minutes of free time can be a challenge. 

For Julie Kaminski, founder of The Walking Book Club, discovering a way to balance work with fitness became a goal she not only achieved, but now shares with an audience that spans the globe.

Kaminski, who has lived in the Bridgewater area for over 25 years, caught the fitness bug early on. From being an athlete in college, to later teaching group fitness classes in Flemington at Health Quest, the YMCA and the Hunterdon Medical Center over the years, her experience ranges from strength training to yoga to kickboxing. 

She started The Walking Book Club as a way to make time for fitness even when it seemed impossible. “It can be a real challenge to eat right, exercise, manage work, family, social life and really thrive,” says Kaminski, who, with three children of her own, speaks from experience on the difficulties of finding time to focus on one’s health. “I’ll be the first to say that if I could pay someone to work out for me I would.” 

It takes mindful effort to be healthy and happy, and creating The Walking Book Club is rooted deeply in Kaminski’s own family experience. “My son is dyslexic, and when he was diagnosed, we’d listen to audiobooks to and from school,” she says. “I was intrigued. I loved listening to the book with my earbuds because I could multitask with chores or take a walk and get some exercise in while being engaged.” 

Encouraging people to take their walks outside has additional benefit in trying times. “Being in nature has been proven to promote a positive mood,” Kaminski says. “Walking just 10 minutes a day makes a difference in health, as well as boosts creativity and productivity. It’s easy and all you need is a good pair of walking shoes and earbuds,” she says.

The club, now in its tenth year, has soared from 1,000 online members to over 10,000, with their online discussion group growing from 200 to 6,300 people, all within the past two years. (The group gives audiobooks a score based on “sneaker ratings,” a 1–5 scale ranking system based on the books’ motivation to make people move, quality of narration and overall experience.)

“The great thing about The Walking Book Club is that anyone can do it and it’s completely free,” she says. “The only rule is that you have to be moving if you want to listen,” she says, adding that you don’t necessarily have to walk to be a part of it—any movement will do. 

“It’s all about moving, being mindful, making time for yourself and connecting with others,” she explains. “Inspiring others and giving them the tools to achieve better health and happiness is the motivation behind what I do. I couldn’t imagine it any other way.” 

To learn more about The Walking Book Club or see audiobook suggestions and reviews, visit juliekaminski.com

Julie Kaminski’s “5 Sneaker” Recommendations: 

The Good Sister is full of twists and turns, making the audiobook version a great motivator to move. Right from the beginning, you'll be asking yourself “Who is the good sister: Fern or Rose?” and will keep you guessing right up until the end.

Yellow Wife is a masterful piece of historical fiction inspired by the author’s walk along the Richmond Slave Trail. Robin Miles, a winner of Audie’s best female narrator, delivers a Five-Sneaker performance. 

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev: If musical historical fiction were a genre this book by Dawnie Walton would rank at the top of the list. It is one of the best multi-cast narrated books available. 

Four Winds hooks you from the start. Julia Whelan’s narration is brilliant. Her cadence and ability to seamlessly bring each character to life through slight variation in tone give dimension and depth to the story.

Members who participated in Jeanine Cummins’ American Dirt felt it was an extremely meaningful round. The book extras added context and history. 

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