Creating space for meaningful physical activity at home: women’s stories of social interaction, micro-adventure, and the joy of feeling strong
AffiliationUniversity of Bedfordshire
meaningful physical activity
Subject Categories::C600 Sports Science
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AbstractDuring COVID-19 stay-at-home orders and social distancing, the home, garden and local spaces became focal points for physical activity (PA). These restrictions may have influenced the meaningfulness of PA. This paper draws on feminist perspectives on space and the body alongside the concept of meaningful PA to examine women’s PA at home towards the end of pandemic restrictions. In this visual ethnographic project, 11 women who were physically active at home each engaged in photo diaries and two online interviews for a retrospective and in-the-moment exploration of their PA at home during and after social distancing. Analysis considered the changing and subjective nature of meaningfulness in these contexts. Three composite vignettes are presented, titled ‘Everything is on your own terms’, ‘Expanding the four walls’, and ‘A micro-adventure all by myself’. These written and visual stories illuminate meaningful PA at a time shaped by reactions to stay-at-home orders and changing (gendered) relations to the home as a leisure, domestic, and work space. At-home PA was variously a compromise and a personally relevant choice. Participants found meaning in adapting PA to create the right challenge for them and expressed joy in developing physical strength. Digital and home PA spaces helped women to challenge normative PA practices while fostering different forms of social interaction. Constructions of meaningful PA are dynamic and socially situated in resistance to lockdown and loss of access of nature. The personal relevance of PA is affected by personal values and histories, and broader discourses of space and the body.
CitationHill J, Flemons O (2024) 'Creating space for meaningful physical activity at home: women’s stories of social interaction, micro-adventure, and the joy of feeling strong ', Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, (), pp.-.
PublisherTaylor and Francis
SponsorsNo funding was received for this research
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