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Greg recently brought home a book from our local library, because he thought it might interest me. And does it ever interest me!
The book, 52 Ways to Walk by Annabel Streets, carries the subtitle “The surprising science of walking for wellness and joy, one week at a time.” I appreciate the “wellness and joy” aspects of the book. And, I absolutely love the format. My imagination immediately fired up as I read through the book.
I’m excited to put this book into practice. And I’m equally excited to share the book with you.
Meet the Author, Annabel Streets
Annabel grew up in a carless family. Her father never learned to drive and her mother failed her driving test seven times. The family lived in remote places without access to public transportation, so if they needed something, they walked to obtain it.
As a young adult, Annabel bought her first car and enjoyed driving it around her little town. She also accepted a desk job. Soon she noticed changes in her body and wellness level.
Her body grew rounder, softer, achier, stiffer and more stooped. And Annabel felt more anxious, unsettled and discontent. She chose to reconnect with the simple joys of walking, to reclaim her health and wellbeing.
As she returned to walking frequently, she made two rules for herself: walk instead of using the car, unless absolutely necessary and convert as many sedentary activities as possible into walking activities.
52 Ways to Walk was born out of Annabel’s reconnection with walking and the desire to encourage others to rethink walking and reclaim it from their molecular memories.
How to Use the Book
Each chapter in the book is an opportunity to discover a new way of walking. The chapters roughly coincide with annual weather conditions, colder at the beginning and end of the year, and some universally recognized events.
However, the chapters and modes of walking can also be accessed randomly, choosing a chapter here and the next week, flipping to another section of the book.
To best use the book, whether chronologically or randomly, first skim through the chapters and prepare for the variety of walks. During cold or rainy weather, have coats, scarves, umbrellas and proper footwear available. Download map apps and online sites for walking in new areas.
Walking shoes and boots should fit properly. Purchase new ones if they don’t. Quick drying, breathable socks are a must as well. A stout walking stick is helpful for walking in nature. And keep a backpack ready to go with bandaids, snacks, water, sunscreen, wipes, antiseptic, insect repellent and pain relievers.
Pick a week to start, choose your first walk and head out the door!
Examples from 52 Ways to Walk
Each short chapter includes the type of walk to go on, the benefits from the activity and the science to back the reasoning. At the end of each chapter is a TIPS section with ways to get the most from the walk.
Here is a sampling of walks found in the book.
Walk, Smile, Greet, Repeat
Walking allows us to experience chance encounters with others. Greeting the people we meet with a smile while walking in a neighborhood makes us feel better and return home happier.
Walk in the Rain
Rather than using a rainy day as an excuse to stay home, this week’s activity encourages us to walk in the rain and reconnect with the elements. The falling rain, increased moisture and persistent pounding of raindrops causes specific compounds to be released and combined with the air we breathe. Inhaling those compounds produces a profound sense of well being in the body.
Take a Silent Stroll
A decade ago, scientists discovered that loud noises stopped new neurons from forming in the brain, in the regions linked to memory and learning. Two hours of silence every day produced new neurons. Walking in a quiet place allows the body to reset and the brain to create new neurons.
Amble Amid Trees
in the 1960s biologists realized that the bluish haze often seen over landscapes is a vast cloud of molecules and gases produced by trees and plants. Those emissions benefit earth’s atmosphere. Now we are discovering that they deliver positive benefits to us as well, when we walk in the woods. Health benefits include reduced risks for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, early death, high blood pressure and stress.
Walk with Your Nose
Our sense of smell is the most primitive of the senses. To fully activate that sense and awaken the other senses, walk in an area rich in aromatic plant life. Walk slowly, occasionally closing the eyes and placing hands over the ears and be guided by the nose.
Follow a River
Landscapes with running water have a restorative effect on the mood of the walker. The mind unwinds and the brain relaxes, helping us to feel tranquil and energized at the same time. Tote along lightweight binoculars for watching wildlife along the river and wear sunglasses to protect eyes from glare off of the water.
How I Intend to Use the Book
Since the copy I am currently reading came from the library, I’m ordering my own copy from Amazon.
I love the easy to use format and the mix of tips, stories, science and fun in each chapter. Walking as an exercise is important to me. The health benefits are many plus it is a recommended activity for the Blue Zones lifestyle.
What I appreciate also about the book is the ability to keep the walks interesting by playing a random game. One of the primary reasons people don’t continue a walking practice is boredom. And I get it. Walking the same route the same way becomes more of a mindless activity. I love that 52 Ways to Walk offers a fresh walking activity every week.
My intention is to write out each week’s walk on a slip of paper, fold those 52 slips up and drop them into a container. Each week I’ll draw out a different walk to experience. If the walk doesn’t match the weather or requires something I’m not able to do that week, then I’ll return that slip to the container and draw out another one. This is a form of creative play that I enjoy immensely.
Pick Up Your Copy of 52 Ways to Walk
Is walking an important form of exercise and relaxation for you? Then you would enjoy this book as well. The activities are so varied and the information in each chapter is well presented and motivational.
I appreciate that the book contains a full year of weekly walks. And it inspires me to create other interesting walks as well.
Pick up your copy of 52 Ways to Walk by clicking this LINK or by clicking on the photo of the book below. And watch for future posts. I’ll share occasional highlights of some of the walks.
Click photo below to order book:
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