Walking to Wellbeing
Middle-aged and older adults walking 150 minutes per week are more socially active and have better mental health and overall wellbeing.
Donoghue, Orna, O’Connell, Matthew and Kenny, Rose Anne. (2016). Walking to Wellbeing: Physical Activity, Social Participation and Psychological Health in Irish adults aged 50 years and Older. Dublin, Ireland: TILDA (The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing). 23 pp.
New research using data from The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) at Trinity College Dublin shows that being physically active, for example by walking for at least 150 minutes per week, is associated with more social participation and better mental health and wellbeing. However, only three out of five Irish adults aged 50 years and over walk for the recommended target of at least 150 minutes per week.
- Two-thirds of the Irish population aged 50 years and older report low or moderate levels of physical activity while only one-third report high levels of activity, based on the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.
- Middle-aged and older Irish adults with high levels of physical activity report greater participation in social activities, less anxiety, better quality of life, and less loneliness compared to those with low physical activity levels.
- Middle-aged and older adults with low levels of physical activity are over twice as likely to have clinically relevant depressive symptoms as those with high levels of physical activity (14% versus 6%).