Battling Loneliness: The Therapeutic Power Of Walking Groups

Amelia Dodd's "Girls Who Walk Sunderland" reflects a global trend of combating loneliness with walking groups. This concept resonates in India, where similar groups foster connections, bridge generations, provide therapeutic relief, emphasising support

Harnur Watta
Sep 05, 2023 09:57 IST
Image credits: Life on Earth Pictures

Image credits: Life on Earth Pictures

Loneliness, a silent struggle that plagues many lives, has found an unexpected adversary in the form of walking groups. Across the world, individuals are realising the therapeutic potential of these gatherings, and India is no exception. 

The story of Amelia Dodd, who founded "Girls Who Walk Sunderland," resonates deeply with a concept that has quietly persisted in India for years.

A Global Trend Taking Root in India

Amelia Dodd's journey from loneliness to empowerment began when she relocated to Sunderland with her partner for work. 


Loneliness, an affliction that transcends borders, took hold of her life. 

She remarked, "When I moved, loneliness had a big impact on me. It was quite hard to meet people, especially when you just go to work, it was hard to meet people outside of that."

In India, where community and social bonds have long been cherished, loneliness has also been a persistent issue. 


The urbanisation wave, the demands of modern life, and the Covid-19 pandemic have exacerbated these feelings. 

But just as Amelia Dodd decided to combat her loneliness through a walking group, many in India have found solace in similar initiatives.

Fighting Loneliness, One Step at a Time


Amelia Dodd's "Girls Who Walk Sunderland" is more than just a walking group; it's a haven for social connection. 

She recognised the need to create a platform for women of all ages and backgrounds to come together and tackle loneliness collectively. 

This sentiment mirrors the ethos of several Indian walking groups.


One such group, "Walk for Health" based in Bangalore, has been silently addressing the issue of loneliness for years. 

It brings together people from diverse backgrounds, bridging generational gaps, and providing a space for meaningful interactions. 

Like Girls Who Walk Sunderland, these Indian groups emphasise the importance of mental health and well-being.


The Therapeutic Power of Walking

Amelia Dodd aptly describes her group as a form of therapy, and she's not alone in this sentiment. 

Alina Mackenzie, a member of Girls Who Walk Sunderland, remarked, "It's good to get back into the community to meet people who you wouldn't normally meet. We've got people of all ages on this walk, some women are in their 60s and I'm 21 and don't think I'd normally make friends with someone that age."


In India, a country known for its diverse cultures and traditions, walking groups provide a unique space for individuals of all ages to interact. 

These interactions transcend mere exercise; they become opportunities for sharing experiences, stories, and laughter. 

The therapeutic effect of such connections cannot be overstated.

Spreading Positivity Beyond Walks

Amelia Dodd's vision extends beyond walks; she plans to organise regular walks at different locations across Sunderland and eventually arrange social activities. 

This forward-thinking approach is shared by Indian walking groups that have expanded their activities to include cultural events, workshops, and charity initiatives.

"Girls Who Walk Sunderland" has already organised a fundraising walk for a local charity, demonstrating the power of such groups to give back to the community.

 In India, similar endeavours can be witnessed as walking groups collaborate with NGOs and charitable organisations to make a positive impact on society.

Amelia Dodd's story of battling loneliness through a walking group mirrors a concept that has quietly persisted in India for years. Loneliness is a universal challenge, transcending geographical boundaries. 

Walking groups provide a unique opportunity for individuals to come together, combat loneliness, and foster a sense of community.

In India, where the importance of social bonds has always been cherished, these groups offer a way to bridge generational gaps and bring people of diverse backgrounds together. 

They provide a platform for meaningful interactions, addressing not only physical health but also mental well-being.

Views expressed by the author are their own

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