In Praise of Walking

Regular movement improves our thinking, feeling and creative selves in myriad ways, as well as improving our health

Shane O’Mara

In his new book , In Praise of Walking, Shane O’Mara explores every facet of walking, from how we evolved to walk to how our whole bodies keep us upright and moving forward through diverse environments.

He explores the anthropology of walking. We walked out of Africa and spread around the globe, leaving our primate cousins moving on all-fours up trees. Our range of movement increased over theirs when our heads and spines shifted into alignment and our big toe shifted from the side to the front.

The physical benefits of walking, especially long distances, are evident to anyone who has walked a week or more on the Camino. I lost fat and gained muscle in my six weeks on the Camino Frances – and was the fittest I’d ever been in my life.

I also gained mental clarity and a steady inner peace on Camino. In particular, the practice of shinrin-yoku, walking in deep forest, soothed and enlivened my lively mind.

Shane O’Mara highlights the social benefits of walking. Beside a friend we open up. In a group like a Camino family, we feel safe and connected.

At home my creativity expands during and after a good walk. I return to my desk brimming with ideas for my work in progress.

O’Mara concludes: “walking … is the simple, life-enhancing, health-building prescription we all need.”

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