Introduction: Enjoying the benefits of physical activity requires an active lifestyle and a continuous participation in a variety of physical activities. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to identify the effective factors of institutionalizing leisure-time physical activity which was based on institutionalization theory.
Methods: This qualitative research method was in exploratory type and in the terms of purpose was functional which was conducted in the field format. Participants in the present study (16 people) were people who had continuous physical activity for at least 5 years (three sessions per week) and this behavior was institutionalized in them. These participants were selected through purposive sampling and snowball method to reach the theoretical saturation point. The data collection tool was the semi-structured interview and then a coding method was used to analyze the data of the interviews.
Results: The results of the research led to the discovery of 21 factors, including gaining internal and external rewards and satisfying the sense of competition in the habituation phase, promoting physical activity and its results for others, and forming and leading sports groups in the objectification phase and gaining social popularity and role models. Others were in the process of depositing the process of institutionalization of physical activity in leisure time.
Conclusion: By recognizing, planning and creating mechanisms for the operation of these factors, as well as adopting strategies for experiencing these situations by members of society, the process of institutionalization of physical activity in leisure time can be facilitated for individuals and ultimately for a society as a whole and a healthy and active community would be witnessed.