Have you heard? Sitting is the new smoking. We're sitting longer than we ever have before: adults average nine hours of sitting a day, while children spend almost as much time sitting in front of a screen and in school. Driven by a combination of a car-centric culture and an insatiable thirst for productivity and efficiency, we have been designing walking out of our lives for nearly a hundred years--and there's an ever-growing concern and national conversation about our increasingly sedentary lifestyles. But here's the quandary--and it's a big one: If bipedal walking is truly what makes our species human, as paleoanthropologists claim, what does it mean that we no longer walk as much as we used to-that we are designing walking right out of our lives? Delving into a wealth of science, history, and anecdote--from our deepest origins as hominims to our first steps as babies, to universal design and social capital, to walking as protest (from medieval England to Black Lives Matter), to our very concepts of self and community, A Walking Life shows exactly how walking is essential--to how we think, how we grow, how we socialize, how we move, and how deeply reliant our brains and bodies are on this simple pedestrian act.
This charming and poignant book really brings home what it means to walk. Look no further for evidence of what we have forsaken by allowing so much of our country and planet to be reshaped, no longer around the human stride, but around the demands of a two-ton steel carapace that, for only 20 percent of our income, grants us obesity, asthma, daily carnage, unending traffic, and climate change. --Jeff Speck, city planner and author Walkable City Rules The overall message is eye-opening, revealing the somber reality of our car-centric world but also inspiring a desire to reconnect with our primeval desire to wander on our own two feet. --Booklist Reading this wise, soulful book by Antonia Malchik feels like treating your-self to a good walk. By the end, you're thinking more clearly, you've had some unexpected insights, and you're really glad you took the time to do it. --Alan Weisman, author of the New York Times bestseller The World Without Us and Countdown Antonia Malchik's walkabout reconnects us to what it means to be human -- finding community, citizenship, creativity, mental and physical health, and ultimately, freedom -- through the perambulation that distinguishes us from other creatures. This is an important book for our time: we must reincorporate walking in the fabric of our environments if we are to remain resilient to the challenges that face us. --Wade Graham, author of Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World Readers interested in green living and libraries that support ecology and urban studies programs will want this far-reaching book about how to maintain a sustainable lifestyle. --Library Journal A travel writer who now lives in her native Montana after decades of more urban life, Malchik hasn't simply written a self-help book on the physical and psychological benefits of walking, though there is plenty of that here. The author also delivers a manifesto that involves urban planning, technology, political protest, the environment, and the future of the planet. Humans were not only designed to walk, she writes; they are all but defined by their bipedal nature. [...] She also explores the ramifications of refugees walking hundreds of miles for asylum, protestors mobilizing in the thousands for political action, and pilgrims undertaking long journeys by foot for spiritual reasons. (She finds walking meditation more beneficial than sitting meditation.) If we walked more often, we'd feel better, think more creatively, suffer less depression, have more connections as a community, breathe cleaner air, and have a more profound understanding of our place on the planet...[Malchik] makes a convincing plea for better balance. --Kirkus No wonder, then, so many writers have, of late, taken to the page to give encomiums to walking. Few do it as warmly as Antonia Malchik, who reminds us in A Walking Life that walking is about so much more than movement--our footfalls, she demonstrates, are about longing, freedom, connection, belonging, and home. ... Reading her book is tantamount to taking a walk with a generous friend whose curiosity and hope fills you with the compulsion to walk and open yourself to the world and its infinite stories. --Garnette Cadogan, Literary Hub