Guest Author - Elizabeth Brennan
Walking for Fitness
The author of this book Nina Barough developed breast cancer in 1997 and in her efforts to restore herself to health discovered the benefits of walking. While the book focuses on the technique of power walking, which is fully explained in the book, all the advice offered can apply to ordinary walking also. The book was first published in 2003 but the information is still current. It is a complete manual for a healthy lifestyle.
The book is very well laid out in nine chapters and each chapter is further subdivided into short headed paragraphs which deal with every aspect of the chapter theme. The Contents page is excellent. You can see at a glance the chapter headings and sub – headings and go straight to the information you want. Walking for Fitness is not just a practical book but an inspirational book as well. The first page of each chapter has an inspirational quote from well known authors at the bottom. It is a book which focuses not just on exercise but on healthy living in a holistic way.
The first chapter explains the different categories of walking from the stroll to race walking. Every aspect of walking is covered in detail from what to wear, assessing your fitness, stretching and strengthening, thinking positively, caring for your feet, walking in pregnancy. The language used throughout is clear , concise and unambiguous. This book will answer any questions you may have about walking – walking to lose weight, walking for charity, competitive walking. There is a very informative chapter on healthy eating and the importance of water in our diet.
The illustrations are superb and explain in detail the key points of each chapter. For example in the chapter headed The Right Shoes for You the illustrations clearly show what to look for in buying shoes, low cut heel, low heel profile, arch support, cushioning, toe box etc. There is a well illustrated section on lacing techniques and orthotics. Each chapter has a colourful text box which summarises the key points of the chapter. There is a very good cross referencing system. When the author refers to something which is dealt with in more detail in another section of the book she gives the page numbers.
The last chapter of the book is devoted to training programmes for beginner, intermediate and advanced walkers. There is also a training programme for weight loss, short distance walking, half marathon and marathon walking.
The index is comprehensive and it is easy to access material using the index.
There is also a list of useful resources at the back of the book. As the book was published in the UK the addresses are UK based as are the web addresses.
The last pages provide a walking log which can be used as a motivational tool to chart your progress.
The only criticism I would have of the book is that all the photographs are of young fit men and women. While walking can be enjoyed by all age groups it would have been nice to see a broader selection of age groups in the illustrations. Some of the text in the Training Programmes at the end of the book is written in a very small font on a patterned background which made it difficult to read.
This is a book which will be a reference book in your library for many years. It is a book for every walker from beginner to advanced.
I borrowed my copy of Walking for Fitness by Nina Barough from my local library.