The case for getting back on our feet
The humble act of putting one foot in front of the other transcends age, geography, culture, and class, and is one of the most economical and environmentally responsible modes of transit. Yet with our modern fixation on speed, this healthy pedestrian activity has been largely left behind.
At a personal and professional crossroads, writer, editor, and obsessive walker Dan Rubinstein travelled throughout the U.S., U.K., and Canada to walk with people who saw the act not only as a form of transportation and recreation, but also as a path to a better world. There are no magic-bullet solutions to modern epidemics like obesity, anxiety, alienation, and climate change. But what if there is a simple way to take a step in the right direction? Combining fascinating reportage, eye-opening research, and Rubinstein’s own discoveries, Born to Walk explores how far this ancient habit can take us, how much repair is within range, and guarantees that you’ll never again take walking for granted.
Journalist and long-distance walker Rubinstein laces up his hiking boots and travels around North America and the U.K. on foot in his quest to learn more about the physiological, psychological, and other benefits of walking. Along the way, Rubinstein walks the beat with police officers in inner-city Philadelphia, follows an ancient pilgrimage route in Wales, and joins Canadian aboriginal people on an arduous two-and-a-half week winter trek. Readers accompanying Rubinstein on these remarkable adventures may end up frustrated when he interrupts his chronicles with extended detours into scientific research. For example, Rubinstein breaks away from recounting his participation in the Canadian trek for eight pages summarizing six scientific studies and papers about what one's body does during walking. The result is an overload of information and a disjointed narrative. Readers who are avid walkers won't need further proof of the benefits of walking; those who are looking for incentives to walk more will wish that Rubinstein focused more on his own memorable adventures. Martha Magor Webb, Anne McDermid & Associates.