Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On My Bookshelf: Walking

Packed with practical advice and results from real science, Walking: A Complete Guide to the Complete Exercise by Casey Meyers was a great find when I stumbled upon it at the library this summer. I have been a walker for a long time. I've tried many different techniques and settings. I've gone through injuries, setbacks, illnesses, inspirational journeys, and adventures. Last fall I had an injury that forced me to stop walking for a while. Now I am slowly finding my way back.

Meyers knows walking. He knows the challenges of making exercise work. He understands the traps and pitfalls of daily exercise. He also knows how to make fitness achievable for the average person. I can't imagine anyone reading this book and not being inspired to walk more. Except for the chapter on evolution and the human walking gait, which I skipped, I enjoyed perusing the entire volume. Most helpful were his sections on selecting the right shoes, posture, stretching, and how to turn walking into an aerobic activity that rivals running.

Aside from the health benefits of walking, which Meyers outlines in detail, there are other deeper reasons to walk. I'd be hard-pressed to recommend any change for the homeschooling mom that can top the commitment to walk several days a week. Used properly, this can be the thing that enables you to handle the stress of all that juggling you do. For the last fifteen years, I have solved most of my problems, conquered most of my challenges, and made most of my best decisions while on a walk. Walking was the biggest factor in my recovery from several setbacks to my health. It helped me learn to pray and wait for answers. It gave me a space in which I could enjoy simply observing and pondering. It continues to be a source of inner strength now, after my children have moved on to college. It has deepened my marriage immeasurably, as my husband and I have experienced adventures and discoveries together on our shared walks.

Try it for two months. Start with 15 minutes a day if you don’t exercise regularly and increase by 5 minutes each week until you can walk for 30 minutes every week day. Use that time to rejoice over, to mull over, to pray over your little world. There's nothing like it.

While you're at it, grab a copy of Meyer’s book. He will strengthen your commitment to change and help you see it through.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Read this overview of the book from Google Books:

“It’s true: walking, the primary gait we use every day, is actually the safest, least expensive, and overall most beneficial way to lose weight and improve cardiovascular health. Casey Meyers was diagnosed in 1995 at high risk for stroke or heart attack, and he has been out daily, walking for his life – literally. Meyers (a fit and active 79) has conducted hundreds of walking clinics nationwide. In this revised and updated classic, he shows you how to achieve a healthier, happier life through exercise-walking. He tells you exactly what you need to know, including:

  • Benefits: weight loss, weight maintenance, losing fat, gaining muscle
  • Walking guidelines: how often, how far, how fast?
  • Pacing yourself: the stroll, brisk walking, and aerobic walking
  • Warm-ups: targeted stretches, posture, rhythm, and stride length
  • Gear: shoes, socks, and athletic dress for all types of weather
  • Safety: best times and places for secure exercise-walking
  • Lifestyle: eating smart, yoga, meditation
  • Questions and answers: the twelve biggest concerns of exercise-walkers

Walking is unrivaled in depth and breadth, truly comprehensive, and invaluable for exercise. "


What’s your preferred place to walk? A mall? A neighborhood? A park?
Are your feet happiest on a sidewalk, a paved road, or a trail in the woods?


Please note: I did not receive any compensation or free merchandise in exchange for my written review or my opinion about this book.

1 comment:

  1. Walking at the state capitol building..on marble floors! Use 15 minutes as guidline going around the rotunda...keeps me going those long afternoons!


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