Walking for Wellness: How Taking Walks with a Companion Could Reduce Loneliness

Research has found that greater loneliness is associated with a higher risk for health challenges such as cardiovascular disease or poor mental health. Given that loneliness can especially impact older adults, identifying ways to reduce loneliness within the older adult population is particularly important. To combat this issue, recent research is exploring how taking walks with others may be an effective way to decrease loneliness in older adults. 

In order to examine how walking could impact loneliness, researchers recruited 173 older adults aged 65 and older to take part in a health check-up and survey questionnaire. The check-ups and surveys assessed the older adults’ levels of loneliness, how often and in what contexts they typically take walks, and various demographics. While controlling for additional factors such as age and gender, the researchers found that older adults who walked at least once a week with a companion had lower average levels of loneliness compared to older adults who did not take walks on a weekly basis. There were no significant differences in loneliness between older adults who walked alone on a weekly basis and those who did not walk on a weekly basis. These results provide initial evidence that older adults who walk regularly may experience reduced loneliness, but only when walking with one or more companions. 

Although this research provides promising preliminary support for the effectiveness of walking with a companion, more in-depth research is needed to further explore what other kinds of physical activities might decrease loneliness. In the meantime, these results indicate that finding a walking buddy – or several walking buddies – could be one method of reducing or even preventing loneliness.  


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Mizuta, S., Uchida, K., Sawa, R., Nakamura, J., Encho, H., Akisue, T., & Ono, R. (2023). Context of walking and loneliness among community-dwelling older adults: A cross-sectional study. BMC Geriatrics, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-023-04043-5 

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