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Three books which have inspired me

Written by Sarah on

Every now and again you read something which cuts through, makes you think differently and leads to you actually changing something about your life. To celebrate World Book Day, I’d like to share some books which have inspired me to make some positive changes.

Wind Swept - Why Women Walk by Annabel Abbs

My mum got me this book last summer because when she saw the title, she thought of me! It was a brilliant examination of what leads women to embark on adventurous walks. Told through the author’s own experiences and the lives of various trail blazing women through history including Georgia O’Keefe, Nan Shepherd and Simone de Beauvoir.

Like all the best books it made me laugh and cry. It also made me think a lot about my own experiences of walking and how even in the 2020s it can still feel like a bold and potentially dangerous move to go for a long walk on your own. Even in the modern day there is an expectation that women should not walk independently and to do so feels like an act of defiance.

Before I’d even finished reading the book, I’d secured a place for myself on a map reading course with the Peak Rangers. I decided it was time I stopped relying on other people’s walking guidance and took myself off into nature with the confidence that I was adequately prepared to navigate my own course. I’m booked in on a Lowland Walk Leader training course this month as I want to be able to share my love of walking and nature with other people and empower them to learn how to navigate the countryside.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

This is an incredibly popular book in the fitness industry and with good reason. There are so many helpful tips for how to develop positive habits and eliminate negative ones. I use a lot of them in my day-to-day life and often share them with clients (like habit stacking - tagging a new healthy habit on to an established one eg doing 10 minutes of stretching after brushing your teeth in the morning).

It’s similar to Windswept in that the author shares their own personal experiences intermingled with the stories of others (eg the British Cycling Team) to illustrate his points which makes it more readable and relatable than many other ‘self-help’ books I’ve read.

I truly think this book could be helpful to everyone as we all have negative habits we’d like to shed and positive ones we’d like to build to enable us to live happier, healthier lives.

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray

I discovered this book quite a few years after I was already sober so it didn’t so much change my life as reaffirm and reframe some of the changes I had made. A bit like when couples renew their wedding vows I suppose!

It’s the first book I’d read which really captured my experience of what it feels like to have removed alcohol from your life. I found it so relatable, honest and authentic and it also reframed some of my thoughts and beliefs around alcohol. For a long time, I treated my past drinking self as someone to be ashamed of and forgotten about as much as possible. This book helped me find some compassion and understanding for the person I was in my teens and twenties.

It's not just for people who have a difficult relationship with alcohol. This is an interesting and enlightening read for anyone living in the UK. Whether we as individuals drink or abstain, alcohol is a massive part of our lives and society, for good and for bad and this book shines a light on our complex relationship with it.

Which books have inspired you to take action or think differently about your health and fitness? Get in touch and let me know!

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