Wednesday, February 22, 2023

52 Ways to Walk

I happened upon the book 52 Ways to Walk: The Surprising Science of Walking for Wellness and Joy, One Week at a Time by Annabel Streets in the virtual bookshelf of my Libby app. I'm not even 100% sure how, but it most certainly was a "happy accident!" It was the perfect book as I'm newly back to walking after 2 knee surgeries over the last 6 months. Additionally, there are so many tie-ins to both nature and brain & body science.... I feel it's one of those books that everyone needs to read. 

It's probably no surprise that people view walking as boring. You may agree. Given that, these 52 approaches serve as a good way to snazz up walking and jazz up your step, making it more of a habit and bringing you more joy. It doesn't have to be same ole, same ole.

The way the book is laid out, you could read it front to back, skip around, or save a chapter a week to guide your walking with 52 different approaches and ways to be mindfully focused out in nature. It helps you get out of the mindset of "the walking rut." It even inserts a bit of playfulness and levity, and our brains love novelty.
Some of my favorite chapters included: 
  • Week 2: Improve Your Gait
  • Week 3: Walk, Smile, Greet, Repeat
  • Week 8: Walk with Vista Vision
  • Week 11: Take a City Smell Walk
  • Week 13: Take a Walk-Dance or a Dance-Walk
  • Week 16: Pick Up Litter as You Walk
  • Week 26: Walk in Sunshine
  • Week 29: Walk Barefoot
  • Week 32: Walk in Water
  • Week 44: Seek Out the Sublime
  • Week 45: Work as You Walk
  • Week 51: Walking as Meditation
  • Week 52: Walk Deep and Seek Out Fractals
Some major takeaways....
  • As humans whose lifestyle is growingly becoming more sedentary, we don't move enough. Our bodies were meant to move. Half (or more) of our aches and pains come from our crunched computer posture. We need to move and groove so much more.
  • The health effects are many with routine walking. Regular walking: 
    • lowers your blood pressure, weight, inflammation, and cholesterol;
    • engages and alerts all of your senses;
    • counters heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, and anxiety;
    • improves your overall mental health and provides stress release
    • increases oxygen which helps your organs in addition to your memory, creativity, clarity of thought, concentration, relaxation, and your ability to sleep at night;
    • combats fatigue and brings about greater energy; 
    • helps move your muscles, joints, and bones and improves your alignment, strengthens your core, and improves your balance and stability;
    • increases your long distance and panoramic vision given you aren't singualarily looking at a screen;
    • provides you opportunity to get more Vitamin D.
  • There are also a bounty of environmental benefits: 
    • Walking provides you an opportunity to step away from your car or public transportation, which lowers the overall environmental impact of getting from one place to another.
    • As you walk, you can make it you "one green thing" to pick up trash along the way as you go.
    • Walking gets you more in touch with your surroundings. When this happens, it helps us care more about our world around us--which makes you more invested in protecting the world around you. This is how environmental stewards are made.
When there's a bounty of science explaining all the benefits of walking, and the price is right (free!), what's not to love about walking. There's literally nothing stopping you, except your own 2 feet! Today may be a great day to get outside, breathe in some fresh air, sharpen your focus, and start feeling the benefits!

Book image from; Quote image created from using a book quote from -From 52 Ways to Walk by Annabel Streets

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