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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

52 Ways to Walk by Annabel Streets

Annabel Streets is a passionate advocate for walking for wellness and joy and has written 52 Ways to Walk to inspire everyone to join in.

In 52 short chapters, she describes 52 different ways to walk, one for each week of the year, as well as the surprising science behind each which proves how beneficial walking is for us in so many different ways.

A great deal of research has gone into her book, but her succinct conversational style makes it easy to understand. At the end of each chapter she has also added some useful tips. It’s a book to dip into. You can do the walks in any order you please.

We share her passion for walking especially in the great outdoors. For the last fortnight we have been on a walking holiday on New Zealand’s West Coast.

We walked in cold weather, on sunshiny days, and when the wind was blowing. We walked on ocean beaches, ambled through shady forest glades, and climbed hills. We walked on gravelly uneven paths, squeegeed through mud, and at times our walking boots sank into the sand. We used our senses, listened to birdsong, touched leaves, and inhaled the scent of the bush. All of these different ways of walking are chapters in her book.

We have always walked in our native bush for the love of it. But after reading this book, and learning about the science behind walking, which I found both fascinating and surprising, I have a much better understanding of why we feel so relaxed, and healthy at the end of each day.

“Because here’s the thing: when we move , hundreds of intricate changes take place inside our bodies. A twelve-minute walk alters 522 metabolites in our blood-molecules that affect the beating of our heart, the breath in our lungs, the neurons in our brain. When we walk, oxygen rushes through us, affecting our vital organs, our memory, creativity, mood, our capacity to think.” she tells us.

Once back in the city whatever, the weather, we’ll be heading outside to take our dog for a daily walk. Walking along the same route every day can begin to feel like a bit of a chore rather than a pleasure. But Annabel Streets lists many different ways to ring the changes and make it more interesting such as breathing as you walk, going on a city smell walk, picking up litter, singing as you stride, or Jump-Starting your walk for super strong bones. There’s just one kind of walk I’ll be avoiding, walking backwards! Not a good idea when you are walking your dog!

Truth be told, especially on a cold winters’ day, we’d rather stay snug and warm inside. Her first chapter “Walk in the Cold’ is a good antidote to such negative thoughts. We should welcome the colder months as an exhilarating time to walk she says because not only does brisk walking in the cold weather keep our cells healthy and our bodies in trim muscular shape, it also keeps our brains in good working order. And cold, in moderation, is good for our mental health. It also activates our beneficial brown fat which (and this may surprise you) is a very effective fat burner.

I recommend this book to those who love walking, but also to those who have yet to adopt a walking habit. Her infectious enthusiasm is very likely to win them over!

Reviewer: Lyn Potter

Bloomsbury Publishing


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