26 September 2023

The Miracle Pill

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

By Peter Walker, Simon & Schuster, $32.99.

Is there such a thing as the ‘miracle pill’? A simple lifestyle change with such enormous health benefits that, if it was turned into a drug, it would be the most valuable in the world.

The answer is movement and the good news is that it’s free, easy and available to everyone.

Journalist and author, Walker has for years been researching and writing about the benefits of incidental exercise. He points out that an exhaustive global study, which combined data from 122 nations, found that nearly a third of all adults, and four fifths of adolescents, currently move insufficiently in their lives. The short answer is that every day physical activity has more or less disappeared from the world.

This book is the story of how routine activity disappeared, and the many consequences it brought. It is not an argument for simply turning back the clock. Instead, this is about finding new ways to put physical effort into modern lives.

Neither is this intended as a handbook for better health, or a detailed policy manifesto. “Consider it more a guide through this often unnoticed phenomenon and its many consequences, which are hiding in plain sight in virtually every country across the world.”

Walker also points out at least some of the ways through which you might integrate more movement into your routine, and explain the near-magical benefits that can follow. As such, each chapter ends with an idea about how to perhaps integrate more movement into your life.

Through interviews with experts in various fields, Walker explores how to bring more movement into the modern world and, most importantly, into your life. It’s a story of hope. The consequences that follow for your wellbeing can be astounding.

This book can be life-changing for you, if you let it.

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