In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews

Walking is a uniquely human endeavor that provides obvious physical benefits. Moreover, Shane O’Mara argues that besides those physical benefits, walking makes us happier and smarter. Although wonky at times as he describes the biomechanics of walking, he demonstrates the impact on our cities, our culture and our lives that walking provides.

— Andy


A hymn to walking, the mechanical magic at the core of our humanity.

In this captivating book, neuroscientist Shane O’Mara invites us to marvel at the benefits walking confers on our bodies and brains, and to appreciate the advantages of this uniquely human skill. From walking’s evolutionary origins, traced back millions of years to life forms on the ocean floor, to new findings from cutting-edge research, he reveals how the brain and nervous system give us the ability to balance, weave through a crowded city, and run 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 aging 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, O’Mara makes the case that we must start walking again—whether it’s up a mountain, down to the park, or simply to school and work. In Praise of Walking illuminates the joys, health benefits, and mechanics of walking, and reminds us to get out of our chairs and discover a happier, healthier, more creative self.

About the Author

Shane O'Mara is professor of experimental brain research at Trinity College Dublin. He is also the author of Why Torture Doesn’t Work and A Brain for Business—A Brain for Life. He lives in Dublin, Ireland.

Praise For…

It seems like a simple, perhaps the simplest, human activity: Walking. Yet, as O’Mara makes clear, every amble is transformative. It grows brain cells, fires our muscles, unleashes our creative spirit and lifts our moods. This book could—and should—change your life.
— Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix

Compelling and wise, In Praise of Walking points the way to the human adventure.

— Richard Louv, author of Our Wild Calling and Last Child in the Woods

Informative and persuasive enough to rouse the most ardent couch potato.
— Jonathon Keats

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

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.

— Helen Davies

In Praise of Walking [is] a backstage tour of what happens in our brains while we perambulate. Walking makes us healthier, happier and brainier…[O’Mara] knows this not only through personal experience, but from cold, hard data.

— Amy Fleming

A fascinating new book that examines the multitudinous benefits of this form of locomotion.
— Lydia Slater

Full of insights…An accessible and thought-provoking discussion of walking as a key to human success.
— Gina Rippon, author of The Gendered Brain

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393652086
ISBN-10: 0393652084
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: May 12th, 2020
Pages: 224
Language: English