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“More than just a walk in the park”: A multi-stakeholder qualitative exploration of community-based walking sport programmes for middle-aged and older adults

Sivaramakrishnan, Hamsini; Phoenix, Cassandra; Quested, Eleanor; Thogersen-Ntoumani, Cecilie; Gucciardi, Daniel F.; Cheval, Boris; Ntoumanis, Nikos

“More than just a walk in the park”: A multi-stakeholder qualitative exploration of community-based walking sport programmes for middle-aged and older adults Thumbnail


Hamsini Sivaramakrishnan

Eleanor Quested

Cecilie Thogersen-Ntoumani

Daniel F. Gucciardi

Boris Cheval

Nikos Ntoumanis


In spite of the large-scale growth of walking sport (WS) programmes globally, limited research has explored the experiences of the key stakeholders involved in such programmes (i.e., decision-makers, facilitators, and players). We aimed to explore stakeholder experiences of community-based WS programmes to better understand the appeal of such sport options for middle-aged and older adults, and propose tentative recommendations for the feasibility and sustainability of these types of programmes. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 21 stakeholders who were involved with WS programmes in Australia as decision-makers, facilitators, and/or players. Data were analysed with reflexive thematic analysis. Four key themes pertaining to the WS experience were identified – ‘a renewed lease of life’, ‘navigating ageing stereotypes’, ‘tension between organisational demands and players’ needs’, and ‘WS facilitators as catalysts of success’. Specifically, we found that WS participation enabled a positive ageing discourse for middle-aged and older adults. WS players had to negotiate stereotypes that, at times, were perceived as participation barriers. We also noted some tensions between the demands of sport organisations and the needs of middle-aged and older adults regarding sport participation. Finally, we also noted the importance of the facilitators’ role in increasing accessibility of, and long-term participation in, such programmes. We suggest that to offer feasible and sustainable community-based WS programmes across Australia, incompatibilities across various stakeholders’ perspectives need to be addressed.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 14, 2023
Online Publication Date Apr 2, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Mar 23, 2023
Publicly Available Date Apr 6, 2023
Journal Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health
Print ISSN 2159-676X
Electronic ISSN 2159-6778
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 6
Pages 772-788
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Copyright Statement
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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