May is National Walking Month, did you know that walking 30 minutes a day can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke and help improve your overall health?
We’ve put together some books to help you get excited about walking and how walking can help you. But did you know we also have OS maps that you can borrow from the library? Have a look here!
Walk : the path to a more mindful life
by Sholto Radford
‘Walk’ invites you to explore the benefits to be gained from the simple act of walking and spending time outdoors. A great natural way to boost your mind, body and soul, walking is simple and free. Without the need for specialist equipment or personal training, it is just about the easiest way to get more active, lose weight and become healthier. And it can be done anywhere. Travelling by foot is also meditative as it fosters a slowness of thought, as you become more aware of your surroundings. Drawing on Sholto Radford’s extensive work with mindfulness-based practices, this book offers expert guidance and practical exercises to cultivate emotional and physical wellbeing.
Walking in Ireland: 50 walks through the heart and soul of Ireland
by Christopher Somerville
Walking has never been a more popular pastime and nowhere is more beautiful for walkers to explore than Ireland. In this guide, Christopher Somerville draws on his very popular column for the Irish Independent to present 50 of the very best walks in Ireland from the Nephin Beg Mountains in Sligo to Dingle Way in Kerry.
1001 walks you must experience before you die
edited by Barry Stone
This title features wide-ranging, carefully chosen routes varying from the rugged delights of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path to the wilderness of Jamaica, and the Harz Witches’ Trail high up in the German mountains. The hand-picked excursions take in mountain passes, woodland paths, ancient Native-American trails, and much more.
‘Thinking on My Feet’ tells the story of Kate’s walking year – shining a light on the benefits of this simple activity. Kate’s inspiring narrative not only records her walks (and runs) throughout a single year, but also charts her feelings and impressions throughout – capturing the perspectives that only a journey on foot allows – and shares the outcomes: a problem solved, a mood lifted, an idea or opportunity borne. As she explores the reasons why we walk – whether for creative energy, challenge and pleasure, or therapeutic benefits, Kate’s reflections and insights will encourage, motivate and spur readers into action. Also featured are Kate’s walks with others who have discovered the magical, soothing effect of putting one foot in front of the other.
Beyond the footpath: mindful adventures for modern pilgrims
by Clare Gogerty
In these frantic and unsettling times, more people are seeking meaning, stillness and a greater connection with the natural world. Modern pilgrimages satisfy this need. Walking mindfully to a special place goes beyond rambling to something deeper. By leaving behind our noisy lives, setting off quietly and with purpose, then simply putting one foot in front of the other, we discover more about ourselves and the land we inhabit. ‘Beyond the Footpath’ blends the inspirational and the practical with useful information, mindful and creative exercises and suggestions of destinations for your own mindful walks or pilgrimages.
Shinrin-yoku : the healing art of forest bathing
by Oliver Luke
Discover a slow, mindful way of walking that heals the soul and mends the heart. Let all your senses bathe in the sensory pleasures that woodland has to offer. Forest as therapist: find practical ways to connect deeply with nature. Leave the hustle and bustle behind for a while and fill your lungs with some fresh forest air. Soak up the sights, sounds (or silence) with all of your senses and indulge in some shinrin yoku; the health benefits are extraordinary. Turn off the phone, turn off the TV, close the laptop, lace up your hiking boots, and go outside for what the Japanese call ‘the medicine of being in the forest’, otherwise known as forest therapy. Fresh forest air is filled with cancer-fighting chemicals called phytoncides, which have been found to lower blood pressure and decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When you do get outside, let your senses guide you.
Walking for fitness
by Nina Barough
This is a practical guide to power walking for health and fitness, covering route planning, technique, equipment, walking in different terrains and programmes with specific goals. The programme should help you achieve health, vitality and weight-loss.
The January man: a year of walking Britain
by Christopher Somerville
In January 2006, a month or two after my father died, I thought I saw him again – a momentary impression of an old man, a little stooped, setting off for a walk in his characteristic fawn corduroys and shabby quilted jacket. After teenage rifts it was walking that brought us closer as father and son; and this ‘ghost’ of Dad has been walking at my elbow since his death, as I have ruminated on his great love of walking, his prodigious need to do it – and how and why I walk myself. ‘The January Man’ is the story of a year of walks that was inspired by a song, Dave Goulder’s ‘The January Man’. Month by month, season by season and region by region, Christopher Somerville walks the British Isles, following routes that continually bring his father to mind. As he travels the country he describes the history, wildlife, landscapes and people he encounters, down back lanes and old paths, in rain and fair weather.
Shinrin-Yoku or forest bathing is the practice of spending time in the forest for better health, happiness and a sense of calm. A pillar of Japanese culture for decades, Shinrin-Yoku is a way to reconnect with nature, from walking mindfully in the woods, to a break in your local park, to walking barefoot on your lawn. Forest Medicine expert, Dr Qing Li’s research has proven that spending time around trees (even filling your home with house plants and vaporising essential tree oils) can reduce blood pressure, lower stress, boost energy, boost immune system and even help you to lose weight. Along with his years of ground-breaking research, anecdotes on the life-changing power of trees, Dr Li provides here the practical ways for you to try Shinrin-Yoku for yourself.