ISSN: 1899-1955
Human Movement
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2/2020
vol. 21
 
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abstract:
Original paper

Thematic analysis of the social aspects of nordic walking: the instructors’ perspective

Marta Anna Zurawik
1

1.
Independent researcher
Human Movement 2020 vol. 21 (2), 9-18
Online publish date: 2020/01/22
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Purpose
The health benefits of Nordic walking have been widely examined in previous studies. However, the social benefits of the activity are still unknown. The aim of this study is to explore various social aspects of Nordic walking from the instructors’ perspective related to the activity participation.

Methods
Overall, 14 Nordic walking instructors contacted electronically via the International Nordic Walking Federation instructor database completed open-ended questionnaires. The open-ended questionnaire consisted of 17 questions, grouped in sections (socio-demographic characteristics, career background, motives for becoming a Nordic walking instructor, characteristics of Nordic walking groups, means of promoting Nordic walking in local communities, group dynamics, and perceived barriers to participation). The data were content-analysed by using qualitative-data-management software MAXQDA 10.

Results
Participation in Nordic walking focused on building and maintaining strong social relationships between practitioners and instructors, which offered social and emotional support within the groups. The study identified environmental and psychological barriers to Nordic walking. Environmental barriers were associated with the weather and seasonal conditions, and the diversity of built and natural environments. Psychological barriers to Nordic walking referred to a negative image of walking with poles.

Conclusions
Nordic walking was suitable for people who searched for an opportunity to exercise with the intention for socialising and improving health.

keywords:

Nordic walking, instructor, social support, physical activity, environmental barriers, psychological barriers

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