The walks were either silent to a halfway point, with conversation allowed on the return leg, or silent for both legs of the walk. Those who had initially good first impressions were more likely to synchronise steps, but interestingly, both walking in silence and with conversation for a matter of minutes improved social impressions.

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But walking isn’t typically a popular choice for those embarking on romance. Whether due to busy daytime schedules or the need for social lubricants such as alcohol, the evidence suggests we’re not pounding the pavements in our search for love.

Data from The Kinsey Institute and Match.com’s 2019 Singles In America survey showed that only 11.2 per cent of those surveyed preferred an “outdoors” date, while the most popular first date option remained “easy and quick” coffee or drinks date (36 per cent) or a more formal brunch or dinner date (21 per cent).

Yet it stands to reason that walking dates can glean positive results. After all, studies have shown walking can reduce stress, depression, increase interest in sex and improve self-esteem.

Founder of beforeigosolutions.com, 62-year-old Jane Duncan Rogers chose a walk in Scotland for her first face-to-face date with her current partner.

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“I knew the walk, and it’s easier to speak to someone on a walk when you don’t have to make eye contact,” she says.

“We were able to talk about big subjects in depth more easily than I think we could have done in a restaurant, for instance, when there are others around and you don’t necessarily want to be overheard.”

While it’s unlikely Duncan Rogers was focusing on whether her footsteps matched those of her date, previous research has shown that we tend to synchronise more with partners who are, for example, attractive, likeable and punctual. Plus, previous lab studies have found that motor synchrony can produce feelings of affection, trust and cooperation.

Duncan Rogers has experienced first-hand how walking can positively impact romance, and she’d happily recommend it to others.

“It’s less threatening than in a face to face situation. Plus there will always be something going on to remark on,” she says. “I can’t imagine that we would have been able to be silent with each other easily on a first date in a coffee shop or somewhere more public, and sitting face to face. Usually you have to know someone really well for that.”

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