An Intentionally Designed Walking Program for Seniors Results in Enhanced Community Connection

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Social connection is vital for older adults’ physical and psychological well-being, yet nearly one third of them report feeling lonely. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of a monthly walking program (walking once a month for 8 months) on older adults’ community connection. Older adults (Mage = 78.06 ± 5.98 years) completed a focus group at the completion of the program (n = 15). Qualitative findings indicate that participation in the walking program led to enhanced social connection. Researchers developed six major themes: (1) frequent and engaging walking programs, (2) benefits of group activity, (3) enhanced social connections, (4) connection to the community, (5) knowledge about transit, and (6) personal well-being, and 10 subthemes. Implications from this study highlight the importance of designing a walking program with older adults’ needs and desires in mind.

Walters and Natividad are with the Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Long Beach, CA, USA. Marshall and Wilkinson are with the Department of Gerontology, California State University, Long Beach, CA, USA.

Walters (kellie.walters@csulb.edu) is corresponding author.
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