Saltar al contenido

Walk in a group

For centuries Welsh farmers, called Drovers, took their animals to the London markets every year (almost 300 km). Along the way they were accompanied by people who wanted to travel safely to London or somewhere along the way. They ensured safety and company during the long walk.

There has always been a connection between walking and talking. Humans developed communication to be able to go hunting and find better food. It’s like it’s part of our DNA. That’s why walking groups work better in natural environments than in urban areas.

Anthropologists call ‘walking together’ a ‘deeply sociable activity’. It stimulates conversation, fosters relationships and strengthens friendships. Its slow pace makes it incomparably cozy.

Walking together triggers a torrent of feel-good chemicals, neurotransmitters like dopamine or oxytocin, that protect us. There are many recent studies which show that good social connections give us better physical, mental and cognitive health, as well as a longer life.

Some benefits of walking groups are:

  • weightloss
  • a lower BMI (body mass index)
  • lower blood pressure
  • lower cholesterol
  • among other things

Interestingly, in walking groups there is a lower dropout rate than in other groups.

But the most impressive effect is on mental health. Among the people who participate often, it reduces their stress and depression. Also, they feel more satisfaction because they experience social connection, acceptance, security and a sense of belonging. It is easier to share and exchange personal information, ideas and reflections if we walk with a relaxed intimacy, at a slow pace and adapted to everyone, with coordinated movement and without the need to look each other in the eyes all the time.

There are fluctuations in the rhythm of the group, which create a ‘brief sociability’, and which is what makes it so therapeutic. We change partners or conversations, talking or even walking in synchronized silence.

We also experience the walk with all our senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. Sharing it creates a stronger bond between the participants and also with the landscape.

Source: 52 ways to walk: Annabel Streets – Bloomsbury Publishing