Older Adults’ Perceptions toward Walking: A Qualitative Study Using a Social-Ecological Model

Ka Man Leung, Kai Ling Ou*, Pak Kwong Chung, Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: In this study, we aimed to investigate older adults’ perceptions of their walking experiences, using the social-ecological model as a guiding framework and to propose future walking intervention content. Methods: Thirty-eight participants (19 women; 47% from private elderly centers; mean age = 72.8 (SD = 7.4 years) took part in semi-structured interviews. Qualitative data analysis software QSR-NVivo was used for thematic coding. Results: Thematic deductive analysis revealed pertinent themes at the individual level (health benefits and barriers, fall risk, perseverance, and walking as a suitable activity for older adults), social environment level (social support and social interaction), physical environment level (density, land-use mix, and connectivity; perceived safety, pedestrian facilities (benches, quality of walking paths and sidewalks, and aesthetics), other pedestrian behaviors, and weather, and policy level (lack of walking programs in the community, and supportive culture for an active lifestyle). Discussion: Our findings provide insights for the planning of future multilevel walking intervention programs for older adults in Hong Kong. It is suggested that future walking intervention should include professionals (e.g., physiotherapist or coach) in a group setting, practical walking recommendations such as proper walking posture, and additional fun activities for older adults.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7686
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • active aging
  • physical activity
  • Hong Kong
  • walking
  • thematic coding


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