The Social Relations of a Health Walk Group: An Ethnographic Study

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Abstract

It is already well established that regular walks are conducive to health and well-being. This article considers the production of social relations of regular, organized weekly group walks for older people. It is based on an ethnographic study of a Walking for Health group in a rural area of the United Kingdom. Different types of social relations are identified arising from the walk experience. The social relations generated are seen to be shaped by organizational factors that are constitutive of the walks; the resulting culture having implications for the sustainability of the experience. As there appears to be no single uniting theory linking group walk experiences to the production of social relations at this time, the findings are considered against therapeutic landscape, therapeutic mobility, and social capital theorizing. Finally, implications for the continuance of walking schemes for older people and for further research are considered.

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