A Walking Life
by Antonia Malchik
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.