Aims: Brisk walking may be a measure for reducing impacts of chronic diseases in middle-aged and older people. Understanding the perceptions of regular brisk walkers would be valuable for healthcare providers endeavoring to cultivate and promote regular brisk walking in middle-aged and older people. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore and understand perceptions of regular brisk walking by middle-aged and older persons. Methods: A qualitative method was employed in this study. Both purposive and snowball sampling techniques were applied to recruit middle-aged and older persons who have experience doing regular brisk walking in the community. Six focus groups were conducted with a total of 48 people aged 48-81 years in April and May 2011. An interview guide with five open-ended questions was used in the focus groups. Data were analyzed using a content analysis. Results: Five themes were identified from the data: (a) health promotion and maintenance; (b) relationship building and social interactions; (c) leaders' enthusiasm and peer pressure; (d) the nature of brisk walking; and (e) becoming part of one's daily life. Conclusions: Middle-aged and older persons thought that regular brisk walking could promote and maintain their health and was a good way to have social contact with others. Enthusiastic community leaders and pressure from peers encouraged them to continue exercising, and eventually, it became part of their lives. The results provide information to healthcare professionals, community leaders, and policy-makers for developing appropriate brisk walking programs in the future for middle-aged and older persons in the community.
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