Walking as a meaningful leisure occupation: the implications for occupational therapy
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<I>Introduction:</I> In response to growing interest in leisure in occupational therapy and the importance of understanding how occupations maintain, enhance and promote health and wellbeing, a qualitative phenomenological study was conducted to explore the experiences of walking for leisure.<P/> <I>Method:</I> Six healthy student participants, identified as regular walkers, were interviewed using a semi-structured format. Data were analysed following interpretative phenomenological analysis methodology.<P/> <I>Findings:</I> Participants expressed how and why walking was meaningful to them; the four main themes were social connectedness, wellbeing, connection to nature and achievement from a challenge. Findings suggest that occupational therapists could use walking and leisure occupations in intervention, and that there is scope for an occupational therapy perspective in health promotion.<P/> <I>Conclusion:</I> Determining the subjective meaning of engaging in walking as a leisure occupation has implications for occupational science and health promotion in helping to explain why people do what they do.
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