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Luciana Zuest

This study explored the daily life physical activity (PA) experiences of 11 adolescent girls living in a rural community in the Northwest of the United States. This qualitative study employed visual methods to explore adolescent girls’ PA experiences in their daily lives. Specifically, this study used visual diaries and photo-elicitation interviews to capture girls’ PA experiences. Data from this study revealed two distinct PA patterns among the 11 participants: casual movers and sporty girls. Casual movers have a much less structured approach to PA. They engage in a wide variety of PA types—mostly individual forms of PA and PA geared towards recreation. They describe fun, enjoyment, and task mastery as their main motivations to be physically active. Casual movers often engage in PA with family members and are compelled to be active outdoors and in their homes or neighborhoods. In contrast, all five sporty girls belong to competitive sports teams and have a more structured PA routine. They seek performance improvement and have high perceptions of physical competence. Sporty girls value being active with their teammates and receive strong support from their families in the form of encouragement, role modeling, and financial/structural assistance. Sporty girls feel confident being active in their schools’ fields, courts, and gymnasiums, but also appreciate the outdoors environment. Findings from this study support the need for schools to increase access to PA opportunities that are not focused on skill or fitness performance, thus appealing to casual movers’ approach to physical movement.