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Review of "Walking"

By Andrew Weil and Mark Fenton
Sounds True, 2006
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on May 9th 2006
Walking

Walking is a two audio CD package with an introduction by Andrew Weil and a more detailed discussion by Mark Fenton.  Weil is known for his work on ways to improve one's health and quality of life, and more recently, on how to age well.  He recommends walking as the best form of exercise in the long run, especially because it carries the least risk of injury.  He further suggests, rather surprisingly, that the swinging of the arms that goes with walking helps with brain development.  He even says that walking can serve as a tonic for the digestive system and can prevent constipation.  Weil makes a plausible case that even moderate daily walking can help people maintain their health as they get older.  I was especially pleased by his pointing out that the suburbs has been one of the worst inventions of the modern age, since in suburban life people lose the habit of walking on a regular basis to go about their ordinary business. 

Mark Fenton is the real expert in walking of the two men.  He talks more about the scientific evidence that shows the great health benefits of walking.  It can enhance cardiovascular health, it can help with weight problems, it staves off osteoporosis, it can reduce high blood pressure, and it can even help reduce the risk of some forms of cancer through stimulating the immune system.  Psychologically, it can prevent depression and enhance mental acuity, thus keeping dementia away.  He suggests that just half an hour of walking each day can help people live a longer healthier life, and an hour a day can help to solve medical problems such as obesity. 

On second CD, Fenton guides the listener through a walk, and is designed to be listened to as one walks.  It starts with a warm up, and then progresses through three levels of walking: gentle, weight loss, and aerobic.  He focuses on the pace of walking, and there's a beat to help the listener walk with the right number of steps per minute. 

Both Weil and Fenton have pleasant speaking voices, and give sound advice.  It might seem a little strange for people to need help with learning how to walk, but clearly many people hardly ever walk at all.  They not only drive everywhere, but they take the elevator just to go up one flight of stairs.  Walking is a useful guide, full of excellent tips, and even if much of what Weil and Fenton say is common sense, it can be a useful spur to action to hear them say it. 

 

Link: SoundsTrue

 

© 2006 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

 

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor of Metapsychology Online Review.  His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.

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