In Praise of Walking by Shane O’Mara

Have you heard anyone say “sitting is the new smoking”? More and more we’re being told to get up and move, to try standing desks, anything to avoid sitting for long periods of our day. You may like this advice, or you may find it annoying or confusing, but the truth is that our bodies are built to move, in an intricate and fascinating system that we take for granted every day. In Praise of Walking, by Irish author Shane O’Mara, is an accessible, wide-ranging, and engaging overview of this issue.

O’Mara starts with an extremely motivating chapter on why walking is good for us to incorporate into our everyday lives, and then dives into the science of walking: how it developed in our species, the mechanics of movement, and what’s going on in your brain while you walk. He even presents the evidence that walking can aid in creativity, problem-solving, and socializing.

It would be easy for a book like this to be a personal memoir of walking and its healing powers, but this book was very evidence-based. Every statement made was supported by historical records and/or scientific studies. O’Mara works hard throughout the book to be transparent about his sources and where his recommendations are coming from, which makes the book as a whole more convincing for me. This did lead to some fairly technical scientific explanations, but he also included regular summaries in everyday language, which was a big help.

I personally love to walk and feel refreshed and renewed by being in nature, so it’s possible I’m biased in this case, but I found O’Mara’s explanations interesting, his evidence compelling, and his recommendations very motivating. Especially for curious readers and lifelong learners, the basic science presented in this book is a great way to learn something new about a practical topic.

Video Games for Fitness and Fun!

Looking for something for your kids to do now that school is out?  The library has lots of new video games available for checkout.  You might even find one you would like to play yourself!  Here are just a few of our newest titles:

Mario Party 8

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

GoldenEye 007 Reloaded

Disney Universe

Madden NFL 11

Just Dance Summer Party

Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7

NBA 2K12

And thanks to a grant from Genesis to support health and wellness, the Eastern Avenue Branch also has several new video games that will help you get in shape!  Here are some of our newest games for the Wii, Xbox 360 Kinect, and PlayStation Move that will keep the whole family active:

Zumba Fitness and Zumba Fitness 2

 Wii Sports

Wii Fit Plus

Gold’s Gym Cardio Workout

ExerBeat

Jillian Michaels Fitness Ultimatum

Nickelodeon Fit

My Fitness Coach

 Kinect Sports and Kinect Sports 2

The Biggest Loser Challenge

Your Shape: Fitness Evolved

The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout

Jillian Michaels Fitness Adventure

Get Fit with Mel B

….and more!

Getting in Shape

Feeling inspired by some of those amazing performances turned in by Olympic athletes? Think it might be time to dust off those running shoes, or learn a new sport (they make it look so easy!) Make sure your first stop (after checking with your doctor of course!) is the library, where we have lots of helpful books on how to get in shape.

Faster, Better, Stronger: 10 Scientific Secrets to a Healthier Body in 12 Weeks by Eric Heiden.

Strength for Life: the Fitness Plan for the Best of Your Life by Shawn Phillips

Start Strong, Finish Strong: Prescriptions for a Lifetime of Great Health by Kenneth Cooper

Walking for Fitness by Marnie Caron

Mayo Clinic Fitness for Everybody by Diane Dahm

Small Changes, Big Results: a 12 Week Action Plan for Eating Well, Staying Fit and Feeling Good by Ellie Krieger

The library also has a large collection of fitness videos including yoga, pilates, dance and cardio workouts to help inspire you. And they’re all free to check-out!