Physical Activity Across the Life Course: Socio-Cultural Approaches

  • Adam B. Evans
  • Anne Nistrup
  • Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson
Chapter

Abstract

The subjective, lived elements of old age in physical activity promotion are central in defining how older people ascribe meaning to experiences of being active. Many such meanings are developed throughout the life course. From a longitudinal perspective, although continuity theory can be helpful in understanding older people’s sense of self and personal change, its focus on the individual can underplay the substantive influence of socio-cultural factors on the way age and ageing are understood. Using a figurational sociological framework, we illustrate how older peoples’ sense of self can be interdependent with how others define them and how they define others. We offer recommendations about how this shift in perspective can empower older people to be active agents within the figurations of physical activity promotion.

References

  1. Agahi, N., Ahacic, K., & Parker, M. G. (2006). Continuity of leisure participation from middle age to old age. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 61(6), S340–S346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allen-Collinson, J. (2011). Intention and epochē in tension: Autophenomenography, bracketing and a novel approach to researching sporting embodiment. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 3(1), 48–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Allen-Collinson, J., & Hockey, J. (2011). Feeling the way: Notes toward a haptic phenomenology of distance running and scuba diving. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 46(3), 330–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Allen-Collinson, J., Curry, N., Leledaki, A., & Clark, M. (2011). ‘Mentro Allan’/‘Venture Out’ evaluation: Lived experiences of physical activity in outdoor environments. Report to Sport Wales.Google Scholar
  5. Atchley, R. C. (1989). A continuity theory of normal aging. The Gerontologist, 29(2), 183–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Atchley, R. C. (1992). What do social theories of aging offer counselors? The Counseling Psychologist, 20(2), 336–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Atchley, R. C. (1998). Activity adaptations to the development of functional limitations and results for subjective well-being in later adulthood: A qualitative analysis of longitudinal panel data over a 16-year period. Journal of Aging Studies, 12(1), 19–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Atchley, R. C. (1999). Continuity and adaptation in aging. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Atchley, R. C. (2006). Continuity, spiritual growth, and coping in later adulthood. Journal of Religion, Spirituality & Aging, 18(2–3), 19–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bailey, K. D. (1990). Social entropy theory. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  11. Berger, P. L., & Luckmann, T. (1991). The social construction of reality: A treatise in the sociology of knowledge (penguin social sciences). Garden City: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  12. Blumer, H. (1961). Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method (1st ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  13. Buckley, W. (1967). Sociology and modern systems theory. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  14. Clair, J. M., Karp, D. A., & Yoels, W. C. (1993). Experiencing the life cycle: A social psychology of aging. Springfield: CC Thomas.Google Scholar
  15. Covey, H. C. (1981). A reconceptualization of continuity theory: Some preliminary thoughts. The Gerontologist, 21(6), 628–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Elias, N. (2001). The loneliness of the dying. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  17. Elias, N., & Dunning, E. (1986). Quest for excitement: Sport and leisure in the civilizing process. Oxford/New York: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  18. Elias, N., & Jephcott, E. (1992). Time: An essay. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. Elias, N., & Schröter, M. (1991). The society of individuals. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  20. Elias, N., & Scotson, J. L. (1994). The established and the outsiders: A sociological enquiry into community problems (Vol. 32). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Evans, A. B., & Crust, L. (2015). ‘Some of these people aren’t as fit as us …’: Experiencing the ageing, physically active body in cardiac rehabilitation. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 7(1), 13–36. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676x.2014.908945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Evans, A. B., & Sleap, M. (2012). “You feel like people are looking at you and laughing”: Older people’ perceptions of aquatic physical activity. Journal of Aging Studies, 23(4), 515–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Evans, A. B., & Sleap, M. (2013). “Swim for health”: Program evaluation of a multi-agency aquatic activity intervention in the United Kingdom. International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education, 7(1), 24–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Evans, A. B., & Sleap, M. (2014). ‘Older people’ lifelong embodied experiences of leisure time aquatic physical activity in the United Kingdom. Leisure Studies, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2014.923492.
  25. Evans, A. B., Carter, A., Middleton, G., & Bishop, D. C. (2016). Personal goals, group performance and ‘social’ networks: Participants’ negotiation of virtual and embodied relationships in the ‘workplace challenge’ physical activity programme. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 8(2), 301–318. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2016.1154096.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Featherstone, M., & Hepworth, M. (2005). Images of ageing: Cultural representations of later life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Finchum, T., & Weber, J. A. (2000). Applying continuity theory to older adult friendships. Journal of Aging and Identity, 5(3), 159–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Goffman, E. (1958). The presentation of self in everyday life. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  29. Gubrium, J. F., & Holstein, J. A. (2008). Handbook of constructionist research. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  30. Hochschild, A. R. (1998). The sociology of emotion as a way of seeing. In Emotions in social life: Critical themes and contemporary issues (pp. 3–15). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Horrocks, C., & Johnson, S. (2014). A socially situated approach to inform ways to improve health and wellbeing. Sociology of Health & Illness, 36(2), 75–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jarvie, G., & Maguire, J. A. (1994). Sport and leisure in social thought. London: Taylor & Francis.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Maguire, J., & Mansfield, L. (1998). “No-body’s perfect”: Women, aerobics, and the body beautiful. Sociology of Sport Journal, 15(2), 109–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mennell, S. (1989). Norbert Elias: Civilization and the human self-image. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  35. Palmore, E. B., Fillenbaum, G. G., & George, L. K. (1984). Consequences of retirement. Journal of Gerontology, 39(1), 109–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Parker, R. G. (1995). Reminiscence: A continuity theory framework. The Gerontologist, 35(4), 515–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pavey, A., Allen-Collinson, J., & Pavey, T. (2013). The lived experience of diagnosis delivery in motor neurone disease: A sociological-phenomenological study. Sociological Research Online, 18(2), 11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Phoenix, C., & Grant, B. (2009). Expanding the agenda for research on the physically active aging body. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 17(3), 362–379. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19799105
  39. Phoenix, C., & Smith, B. (2011). Telling a (good?) counterstory of aging: Natural bodybuilding meets the narrative of decline. The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 66((5), 628–639.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Popay, J., Whitehead, M., & Hunter, D. J. (2010). Injustice is killing people on a large scale—But what is to be done about it? Journal of Public Health, 32(2), 148–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Richardson, V., & Kilty, K. M. (1991). Adjustment to retirement: Continuity vs. discontinuity. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 33(2), 151–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Shilling, C. (2003). The body and social theory. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  43. Taylor, A., Cable, N., Faulkner, G., Hillsdon, M., Narici, M., & Van Der Bij, A. (2004). Physical activity and older people: A review of health benefits and the effectiveness of interventions. Journal of Sports Sciences, 22(8), 703–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Tulle, E. (2008a). Acting your age? Sports science and the ageing body. Journal of Aging Studies, 22(4), 340–347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Tulle, E. (2008b). The ageing body and the ontology of ageing: Athletic competence in later life. Body & Society, 14(3), 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Tulle, E., & Dorrer, N. (2012). Back from the brink: Ageing, exercise and health in a small gym. Ageing and Society, 32(7), 1106–1127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Tulle, E., & Phoenix, C. (2015). Physical activity and sport in later life: Critical perspectives. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Vincent, J. A. (2005). Understanding generations: Political economy and culture in an ageing society. The British Journal of Sociology, 56(4), 579–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Von Bonsdorff, M. E., Shultz, K. S., Leskinen, E., & Tansky, J. (2009). The choice between retirement and bridge employment: A continuity theory and life course perspective. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 69(2), 79–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wan, T. T., & Odell, B. G. (1983). Major role losses and social participation of older males. Research on Aging, 5(2), 173–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wheatley, E. E. (2005). Discipline and resistance: Order and disorder in a cardiac rehabilitation clinic. Qualitative Health Research, 15(4), 438–459. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732304273044.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adam B. Evans
    • 1
  • Anne Nistrup
    • 1
  • Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sport, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of CopenhagenKøbenhavnDenmark
  2. 2.Human Performance Centre, School of Sport & Exercise ScienceUniversity of LincolnLincolnUK

Personalised recommendations