Table 4

Participants views and experiences of the intervention

ThemeIllustrative comments
Physical benefitsIts praises should be sung more widely, it really would deserve that. It had a revolutionary effect on me. I'm a walking bore now I'm afraid! It was just the right thing at just the right time for me. I think more about walking now, I think can I walk there instead of catching the bus. It's a fairly painless way of keeping weight down while still eating a little bit of what you enjoy…. (3022 male, prostate cancer no pedometer)
I have walked ever since at least 3 days a week. This study has stimulated me. I drop my daughter off at school then go with the dog for a long walk. I have noticed the difference physically. I am back on chemo now and have noticed differences with side effects compared to last year. Last year I had oedema which I don't this time and I just feel a lot fitter this time round. In general, I have a little more stamina than before (5016, male, haematological cancer, with pedometer)
Emotional/psychological well-beingI would definitely recommend it, particularly to people who are not actively sporty or for sedentary people. Being diagnosed with cancer is a pretty devastating thing and being told its terminal is even more devastating and when I'm on the walks I forget about the cancer, they have helped me enormously by keeping me physically fit and keeping me well but also mentally. I bang on a lot less to those around me about dying than I used to. And that's got to be good for them as well (3022, male prostate cancer)
Social benefitsI have been doing Nordic walking [WfH] at least once a week—it has made a huge difference to me physically and mentally. It makes me do more than I would if I was walking on my own, I have met all sorts of people and as I live on my own it's great being out and meeting other people (4065, female gynaecological cancer with pedometer)
Well-being and lifestyle benefitsThe impact has been immense! Gave me the motivation to not only increase walking activity from minutes to 3–4 hours per week but also to reduce weight to desired 77–80 kg by altering diet/reducing sweets/sugars. Great boost to morale-no longer dwell on being terminal—just on getting on with making life as enjoyable as possible, greatly helped by friends made on regular ‘walks for life’ (3022, male, prostate cancer)
Barriers to group walksThere was only one walk I could find locally that lasted more than 30 min and seemed to cover a reasonable distance. I turned up to meet and they were meeting in the tea room. I know this sounds a bit ridiculous but I wanted to see who was in the group rather than going straight in. It seemed that everyone in the group was quite a bit older than me, and they spent the first 20 min of the walking time drinking tea in the cafe. When they moved off they were walking quite slowly. I'm not criticising the validity of these social group walks but I was looking for something a bit more energetic, and with people closer in age to me (8003, male, colorectal cancer)