Self-guided physical training as a life unfolding activity: A phenomenological approach to lived experiences of cancer patients taking part in physical training programs

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Based on the ideas of the impact of architecture on healing and health, the Danish Cancer Society has built buildings of a new kind, called Life Spaces. Our research takes place in one of these houses. In one room, designed as a multifunctional room, cancer patients are invited to do various kinds of physical activities on their own. Several studies have found that physical training programs have a positive impact on cancer patients, in the form of, e.g., well-being, physical capacity, decreased side effects, mental resources, and self-confidence. The aim of this study is to describe what characterizes cancer patients’ lived experiences of participating in self-guided physical training. Based on six narrative interviews and, to a minor extent, participant observation and informal conversations, we distinguish three themes, which emerge from the phenomenological analysis: Fitness training, including varied descriptions of exercises; more than illness, recognizing illness as a common experience that does not need to be constantly articulated; and fellowship, exposing the sense of being part of a group of people who take care of each other. The themes are discussed in the light of Medard Boss’ conception of existential traits.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNordisk Sygeplejeforskning
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)34-44
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • disease, health science and nursing

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