Built and Natural Environment Barriers and Facilitators to Physical Activity in Rural, Suburban, and Small Urban Neighborhoods

physical activity, cancer survivors, walking, exercise
ONF 2019, 46(5), 545-555. DOI: 10.1188/19.ONF.545-555

Purpose: To explore built and natural environment barriers and facilitators to walking for exercise in cancer survivors.

Participants & Setting: Cancer survivors (N = 7) living in rural, suburban, and small urban neighborhoods in central Virginia.

Methodologic Approach: The authors used a qualitative descriptive design with photovoice to explore the cancer survivors’ experience with residential walkability.

Findings: The following three themes were identified from the data: visual cues during walks provide recovery motivation and goal achievement; consistent activity is supported through access to a range of buildings and walking paths; and concerns about safety are compounded by cancer-related physical limitations.

Implications for Nursing: Clinicians should consider an evaluation of the built and natural environment to support walking in cancer survivors. These findings may be used in conjunction with known individual-level barriers to physical activity to develop guidance for oncology nurses to help survivors safely achieve physical activity goals.

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