Exploring women's body image and exercise experience: a qualitative study
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For women, the culture strongly influences, if not defines, the body experience, and therefore plays an important role in understanding health behavior, particularly a body-focused behavior such as exercise. To support an orientation to health behavior that is meaningful to the individual necessitates an understanding of the experience of the body from within the context of the participant and her constructed meaning of the exercise experience. Therefore, the present study seeks to explore women’s feelings about their body, as well as their experience in and around exercise. A qualitative method, Interactive Qualitative Analysis (IQA), is used to explore the relationship of body image to the exercise experience. IQA is a systems approach to qualitative research developed by Northcutt, and McCoy (2004) at the University of Texas at Austin. IQA uses group and individual interview processes to produce and analyze data involving study participants in a collaborative way.