Naturally Fit: An Investigation of Experiences in a Women Only Outdoor Recreation Program

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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Researchers have noted several barriers that may exist in relation to women’s pursuit toward and participation in consistent physical activity. These barriers include, but are not limited to, unrealistic social expectations, body image, physique anxiety, evaluation concerns, and lack of a positive support network (Focht & Hausenblas, 2003; Lloyd & Little, 2005; Salvatore & Marecek, 2010; Vrazel, Saunders & Wilcox, 2008). Other researchers have indicated that physical activity pursued in outdoor environments may alleviate some of these barriers (McDermott, 2004). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to use a feminist framework to qualitatively describe the experiences of participants in an all-female outdoor recreation program in relation to confidence building, motivation to pursue physical activity, and social support. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 participants who had been active in the group for two or more years. The results of this study suggest that through participation in this women’s only group, they gained confidence in their physical and leadership abilities, were motivated through both environmental and social means, and experienced social bonding and networking among others. The authors provide applications and recommendations for future research.

Bosteder is with the John C. Hepworth Higher Education Center at the College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls, ID. Appleby is with the Dept. of Sport Science and Physical Education, Idaho State University, Pocatello, ID.

Address author correspondence to Sandra M. Bosteder at
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