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Long-distance walking and mental health among older people: a study of the potentials of movement


Project title

Long-distance walking and mental health among older people: a study of the potentials of movement

Project manager

Martin Mau

Project description

To examine the potentials of long-distance walking among older people in a vulnerable situation.

There is a long historic tradition behind long-distance walking as seen for example in the form of the pilgrimage and the grand tours. A growing number of people and the establishment of new routes in many places illustrate how long-distance walking also has an appeal in modern times.

The connection between long-distance walking and human well-being can be viewed in light of studies within health psychology on the effects of movement and exposure to nature. In addition, long-distance walking may provide the opportunity for reflection and processing of difficult memories.

This project examines the potentials of long-distance walking, specifically among older people who find themselves in a vulnerable situation. For example, when becoming ill or losing a spouse, long-distance walking can be part of a transitory process, which may be helpful when trying to adapt to the changed circumstances .

The project is qualitative, based on interviews and diaries. In addition, we will conduct a theoretical clarification of the notion of vulnerability in old age.

Start date and expected end date

01.01.2020 – 31.12.2022

Main supervisor

Professor Kirsten Kaya Roessler, InCoRE Research Group, Department of Psychology, SDU


Søren Harnow Klausen, Professor, Department of Cultural Studies, SDU;
Ida Skytte Jakobsen, Associate Professor, Welfare Research, UCL;
Dorthe Nielsen, Associate Professor, Immigrant Medicine Clinic, OUH

The project is carried out under

InCoRE Research Group


UCL University College


UCL University College, The University of South Denmark


long-distance walking, physical activity, nature, vulnerability, transitions

Last Updated 19.10.2023