Why Walking Is The Superpower You Didn’t Know You Had with Professor Shane O’Mara

When was the last time you gave any real thought to walking? It’s so easy to put one foot in front of the other. Yet this unique, underrated activity sets us apart from other species, and brings incredible advantages – yes, superpowers – if we do it enough.

My guest on this week’s podcast is the neuroscientist Shane O’Mara, a professor of experimental brain research at Trinity College Dublin. After reading his remarkable new book, In Praise of Walking: The New Science of How We Walk And Why It’s Good For Us, I couldn’t wait to talk to him about the topics it raises. Shane has always been a keen walker and aims to clock 15,000 to 17,000 steps each day on his pedometer. But as we discuss, the positive effects of walking go way beyond the fitness benefits we all know about.

Walking helps more than our hearts and lungs, our muscles and posture, yet modern, sedentary lives mean we’re doing far less of it than nature intended. It can increase creativity and problem solving, lift our mood and protect us from depression. Shane reveals how it helps learning, memory and cognition and how it can slow and even reverse the functional ageing of the brain. All this science, he hopes, will help convince town planners and public health officials that we must redesign our environments with pedestrians in mind.

This is such an enlightening conversation and I know you’ll gain some fascinating new perspectives on how you could (and why you should) fit more walking into your life. Why not head out for a stroll as you listen?

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