High on Walking: Conquering Everyday Life

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The aim of this study is to discuss the meaning of walking impairment among people who have previously been able to walk on their own. The study is based on findings from three different life situations: older people recovering after admission in intermediate care, people who have lost a leg, and people who live with Parkinson’s disease. The analysis of the data is inspired by Paul Ricoeur’s philosophy of interpretation. Four themes were identified: (a) I feel high in two ways; (b) Walking has to be automatic; (c) Every Monday, I walk with the girls in the park; and (d) I dream of walking along the street without sticks and things like that. The findings demonstrate that inability to walk profoundly affected the participants’ lives. Other problems seemed small by comparison because walking impairment was at the same time experienced as a concrete physical limit and an existential deficit.

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