‘Relaxing Way to Spend a Day’ or ‘Best Way to Keep Fit and Healthy’. Comparison of Leisure Experiences in Rambling and Nordic Walking and their Contributions to Well-Being

Abstract

The increasing academic interest in walking for heath has paid limited attention to Nordic walking. This paper investigates the growing popularity of Nordic walking as a leisure activity in the United Kingdom and its contribution to well-being. It investigates the similarities and differences in leisure experiences between Nordic walking and rambling. Twelve Nordic walkers and thirteen Ramblers partook in semi-structured interviews at various locations in the United Kingdom. The interviews were analysed thematically. Using Seligman’s PERMA model and Stebbins’ concept of serious leisure, it was found that leisure experiences in rambling related to well-being by creating a strong emotional bond between the members and the natural environments, developing and maintaining friendships, and facilitating mobility and vitality. In contrast the leisure experience of Nordic walking involved developing physical activity skills and fitness, encouraging leadership, and promoting positive emotions through the participation in the activity. The contribution of this research lies in addressing this significant gap in knowledge by diversifying the concept of leisure walking and identifying the potential social and environmental influences in the leisure walking activities that contribute to well-being.

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Zurawik, M.A., Snape, R. & Carson, J. ‘Relaxing Way to Spend a Day’ or ‘Best Way to Keep Fit and Healthy’. Comparison of Leisure Experiences in Rambling and Nordic Walking and their Contributions to Well-Being. Int J Sociol Leis 2, 347–363 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41978-019-00038-y

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Keywords

  • Nordic walking
  • Leisure walking
  • Rambling
  • Well-being