Loneliness is on the rise and it is having a negative impact on our mental and physical health. As a matter of fact, loneliness is so widespread a UK non-profit organisation has been launched called Campaign To End Loneliness

The CTEL website reports 49.63% of UK adults (25.99 million people) experience occasional loneliness and approximately 7.1% (3.83 million) of the population experience chronic loneliness.

With almost 7.5 billion people on the planet, how has our epoch reached a loneliness crisis? 

Modern lifestyles often prioritise individualism, mobility, and career demands. People may move away from their hometowns or extended families, resulting in reduced social support networks and less frequent in-person interactions with loved ones. 

Technology has also facilitated the move away from social interactions that humans are naturally primed for. The prevalence of social media, online entertainment, and digital communication can lead to more superficial or virtual connections, reducing face-to-face social engagement.

Lockdown during the pandemic also played a part in programming people to adopt indoor behaviours and has exacerbated loneliness. It doesn’t take long for people to adopt new habits — and some people have continued the habits they adopted during lockdown. 

The trend of moving to urban areas can lead to a sense of anonymity and decreased community cohesion as well. Urban environments that lack close-knit neighbourhoods and social bonds seen in smaller towns and rural areas ironically create an atmosphere where we rarely speak with our neighbours because we have so many other things to do.

The loneliness pandemic could get worse in younger generations that have grown up with smartphones and social media. Young adults don’t know how to interact with one another which has created a wider range of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression which promotes social withdrawal and isolation. 

Addressing the rise in loneliness requires both individual and societal efforts. On a societal level, creating supportive communities, promoting work-life balance, and investing in mental health services can help combat loneliness. On an individual level, seeking out social opportunities, nurturing existing relationships, and seeking support when needed are important steps in addressing loneliness and improving overall well-being.

Walking Groups — A Cure For Loneliness?

Loneliness can have a profound impact on mental health. It can erode self-esteem and is strongly associated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression.

Joining a walking group can indeed be a therapeutic and enjoyable way to combat loneliness and improve mental well-being. Walking groups provide an opportunity to connect with others who share a common interest in physical activity and outdoor exploration. 

Furthermore, walking groups often attract a diverse range of people in terms of age, background, and interests. This diversity can lead to rich and fulfilling social interactions and give you the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships.

Regular social interactions can help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Being part of a walking group means you’re sharing an experience with others. You can chat, share stories, and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature together, creating a sense of camaraderie.

Moreover, engaging in physical activity, such as walking, releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. Regular exercise is associated with reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

When considering joining a walking group or any social activity to combat loneliness, it’s essential to find a group that aligns with your interests and comfort level. Some people may prefer smaller, more intimate groups, while others may thrive in larger social settings. The key is to find a group that feels welcoming and supportive to you.

Remember that loneliness is a common human experience, and seeking support and connection is a healthy step toward addressing it. If you’re struggling with persistent loneliness or mental health concerns, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for guidance and support.

Download the Sweatcoin App 

Sweatcoin promotes walking by offering you the opportunity to earn a digital currency you can use to buy merchandise from over 300 retailers. All you have to do is download the Sweatcoin App onto your mobile phone and walk. 

Our app has a built-in pedometer which counts the number of steps you walk every day. You can also find loads of great offers through the app. It pays to walk.