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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

Walking upright on two feet is a uniquely human skill. It defines us as a species.

It enabled us to walk out of Africa and to spread as far as Alaska and Australia. It freed our hands and freed our minds. We put one foot in front of the other without thinking - yet how many of us know how we do that, or appreciate the advantages it gives us? In this hymn to walking, neuroscientist Shane O’Mara invites us to marvel at the benefits it confers on our bodies and minds.

In Praise of Walking celebrates this miraculous ability. Incredibly, it is a skill that has its evolutionary origins millions of years ago, under the sea. And the latest research is only now revealing how the brain and nervous system perform the mechanical magic of balancing, navigating a crowded city or running our inner GPS system. 

Walking is good for our muscles and posture; it helps to protect and repair organs and can slow or turn back the ageing of our brains. With our minds in motion we think more creatively, our mood improves and stress levels fall. Walking together to achieve a shared purpose is also a social glue that has contributed to our survival as a species.

As our lives become increasingly sedentary, we risk all this. We must start walking again, whether it’s up a mountain, down to the park, or simply to school and work. We, and our societies, will be better for it.

©2019 Shane O'Mara (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about In Praise of Walking

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Walk on

Listen to this friendly and informative audiobook while walking if you can. A good way to realise in real time the benefits of walking

3 people found this helpful

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Technical presentation of a crucial subject

Fascinating study of the importance of walking. If it didn't get the full 5, that was because the initial imaginative presentation of the what and why of human upright bipedal walking turned more and more into highly technical scientific experiments; he does not waste words, and I loved his precision, but at times it was too dense. I think some of the later material needed more reflection - ironically more walking and musing would have made it an easier listen. But a most important book: let us hope that at least some urban planners read it carefully.

1 person found this helpful

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Walk encouraging

Nice scientific book. Walk encouraging. I love every precise detail in the book, starting from how we "as human" learn to walk to the effect of walking in many aspects of our life.

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Interesting read on the benefits of a brisk walk

Listed to the audiobook version. It was a very interesting listen on the value of a good brisk walk!

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Droning

The narrators. Voice was like a drone-it’s was hard to stay focused on text.

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What a good book

This book was a rather interesting route through the quotations of famous people linked with motivation of having a good walk and linked with some deep brain stuff. For this last part I had to place a marker so that I could go back to it and go through it again.

I really enjoyed the references to the historical people and places.

I like walking in any case but this book makes me feel like I have to do even more of it.

Thank you for such a pleasant read.

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  • TL
  • 31-03-20

Some interesting points but heavily bulked out.

I was hoping for something like Matthew Walker's 'Why We Sleep' but for bipedal movement, instead a lot of the book was bulked out by such things as tips and opinions on walking around cities etc, such material really drags for me and becomes dry. This being said there is a good section on the biochemical effects of walking which I appreciated.