In Praise of Walking
Shane O'Mara

Book cover image

Narrated By: Laurence Dobiesz

Duration: 6 hours and 6 minutes

What to expect

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 performs 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.

Genre

Neurosciences, Popular science, Walking, hiking, trekking, Nature and the natural world: general interest, Popular medicine and health

Listen to a sample

Convincing and compelling ... In Praise of Walking is peppered with insights about everything from 19th-century poets and flâneurs to modern-day experiments with subjects playing video games in fMRI scanners

Sunday Times

Forget apples. A walk a day really will keep the doctor away

Evening Standard

A book that will leave you itching to go out for a good old-fashioned stroll

Mail on Sunday

Full of insights… an accessible and thought-provoking discussion of walking as a key to human success

Gina Rippon, author of The Gendered Brain

Fascinating ... O’Mara argues [walking] is intimately connected to our bodies, our brains, and ultimately how we exist as a species

The Times

Walking makes us healthier, happier and brainier ... [O'Mara] knows this not only through personal experience, but from cold, hard data

Observer

A fascinating new book that examines the multitudinous benefits of this form of locomotion

Harper's Bazaar

In Praise of Walking is both informative and persuasive enough to rouse the most ardent couch potato – perhaps saving humanity before our lifestyle consumes our brains completely

New Scientist

Like a poem to walking… [and] the science that might help convince planners to prioritise walking as a means of getting around

UK Press Syndication

[In Praise of Walking] it provides an antidote to the many miseries that can accumulate because of our modern, sedentary lifestyle