The case for getting back on our feet
The humble act of putting one foot in front of the other transcends age, geography, culture, and class, and is one of the most economical and environmentally responsible modes of transit. Yet with our modern fixation on speed, this healthy pedestrian activity has been largely left behind.
At a personal and professional crossroads, writer, editor, and obsessive walker Dan Rubinstein travelled throughout the U.S., U.K., and Canada to walk with people who saw the act not only as a form of transportation and recreation, but also as a path to a better world. There are no magic-bullet solutions to modern epidemics like obesity, anxiety, alienation, and climate change. But what if there is a simple way to take a step in the right direction? Combining fascinating reportage, eye-opening research, and Rubinstein’s own discoveries, Born to Walk explores how far this ancient habit can take us, how much repair is within range, and guarantees that you’ll never again take walking for granted.
Dan Rubinstein is a National Magazine Award–winning writer and editor. He contributes to publications such as The Walrus, the Globe and Mail, The Economist and enRoute, and has edited magazines in Ontario and Alberta. These days, he does most of his walking in Ottawa.
Kevin Patterson is a medical doctor who works mostly in British Columbia and Nunavut. He is the author of the novel Consumption, the short story collection Country of Cold (which won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize), and the memoir The Water in Between: A Journey at Sea.
“With fervour and a strong commitment to research, Rubinstein unpacks his simple manifesto: ‘Walk more. Anywhere.’” — Quill & Quire
“Walking long distances daily is good for your health. We know that. But Rubinstein goes several steps further with this thought-provoking, transcendent book on the benefits of covering the miles on foot.” — Toronto Star
“Born to Walk should be required reading for Canadian politicians, policy-makers, planners and pedestrians.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“[Born to Walk] shows how putting one foot in front of the other intersects with nearly every facet of the human experience, from mental health to economics to creativity, with no shortage of scientific firepower to back it up.” — Edmonton Journal
“Few books treat walking so big-heartedly and open-mindedly as this one or with such exploratory, wide-ranging study.” — Literary Review of Canada
“Rubinstein is at a crossroads in his life and walking provides the balm to get through it. It is full of personal stories about those he walks with: police on the beat, members of Canada’s First Nations, hikers, you name it.” — Books Or Bust
“This is an inherently inspirational work, and one that holds real promise for social change. Add to that: reading it is often a delightfully visceral experience. Born to Walk invigorates — it convinces you that it’s time to get off the couch, lace up your sneakers, and rediscover the simple pleasure of a good walk.” — Straight.com
“An unhurried and encyclopedic study of a basic and simple movement that touches upon nearly everything else we do. Like a good ramble over variable terrain, the book is filled with unexpected objects and insights.” — EVENT Magazine