May is Mental Health Month, opens a new window. It is a time to share stories, resources, and raise awareness about mental health and its importance. You can find a number of titles related to various mental health topics in this booklist here., opens a new window But of course, mental health is important all year round! With that in mind, this post looks at Annabel Streets’ 52 Ways to Walk: The Surprising Science of Walking for Wellness and Joy, One Week at a Time.
52 Ways to Walk offers a year’s worth of walking guidance, broken down into 52 weekly themes. These include suggestions like walking barefoot, taking a twelve-minute walk, ambling amid trees, and more. Rather than a 52-week fitness plan, however, these suggestions are presented more as choose-your-own-adventure options. Streets emphasizes that they are meant to provide inspiration, a buffet of walking activities to choose from. Also included in the beginning of the book are tips for walking and hiking. I never thought of testing out my waterproof shoes in the shower!
THE READING EXPERIENCE:
I found the most enjoyable way to read this book wasn’t cover-to-cover; instead, I skipped around to whichever walk seemed the most appealing that day, often finding interesting information not even related to walking. In this way, the enjoyment to be found in 52 Ways to Walk isn’t limited to the walking itself. For instance, Week 33’s "Sketch As You Walk” included information on the health benefits of drawing. Each walking suggestion is accompanied by several pages of easy-to-read tips and information like this. If you find a health tip you’d like to learn more about, it’s easy to refer to the list of sources included in the back of the book.
To be honest, I haven’t gone on most of the walks I read about – yet! But simply reading this book inspired me to draw, breathe, introduced me to quotes and writers I hadn’t heard about, and left me with a lot of new tools to think about wellness. Maybe one day soon I’ll be going on a walk before breakfast or in the sunshine. Until then, I’ll be enjoying the new things I’ve learned about from this book’s eclectic gathering of wellness and walking tips.
NO WALKING REQUIRED:
You can enjoy suggestions like Week 5’s “Breathe While You Walk” without the walking – just focus on the breath! Thích Nhất Hạnh’s How to Sit, opens a new window is a pocket-sized guide to the essentials of mindfulness, a perfect place to start if you’re just beginning.
Interested in read-alikes for the first 20 weeks of 52 Ways to Walk? Check out this booklist, 52 Ways to Walk with 20 Books., opens a new window
These nonfiction titles span a range of topics relating to the body, community, and more. Each of them addresses mental health through its own unique lens! Books have been added in multiple formats where available.