"You've got to walk before you run": positive evaluations of a walking program as part of a gender-sensitized, weight-management program delivered to men through professional football clubs

Health Psychol. 2013 Jan;32(1):57-65. doi: 10.1037/a0029537.


Objective: To explore men's views of a pedometer-based walking program, part of a weight-management intervention delivered through Scottish Premier League football clubs, and the congruence or challenge this poses to masculine identities.

Methods: Semistructured telephone interviews with a sample of participants in a gender-sensitized, group weight-management program. Interviewing continued until data saturation was reached (n = 29).

Results: All men were positive about the context, style of delivery, and content of the broader intervention. These things encouraged men to increase their physical activity (and adopt other behavioral changes) that they may not otherwise have found appealing. The success and acceptability of the walking program resided in three interrelated factors: (a) the utility of pedometers as a technology for motivation, self-monitoring and surveillance, and target setting; (b) the speed with which fitness was regained and weight reduced (enabling men to begin to do more desired forms of physical activity, and so regain visceral, experiential, and pragmatic masculine capital); and (c) bolstering their masculine identities through the receipt of the program in a valued, masculinised context.

Conclusions: These data suggest that men will enthusiastically embrace a graduated walking program when the presentation is gender sensitive in context, content, and delivery. Pedometers were viewed as a valuable, reliable technological aid which motivated men and empowered them in self-monitoring of progress toward self-defined goals. Many men experienced the walking program as a means of regaining fitness, thereby enabling them to also regain valued masculine identities and activities, and a step toward regaining a more acceptable masculine body.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy / instrumentation
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Weight
  • Gender Identity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Soccer
  • Walking*
  • Weight Loss