Community Sport and the Politics of Aging: Co-design and Partnership Approaches to Understanding the Embodied Experiences of Low-Income Older People

Louise Mansfield*, Tess Kay, Nana Anokye, Julia Fox-Rushby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The promotion of physical activity for older people is dominated by biomedically informed polices emphasizing the prescription of exercise as medicine and a universal approach to the promotion of active aging in later life. Yet, more recent research recognizes that being physically active in later life is complex and contested, shaped by the intersections of biological, psychological, and sociological experiences, and requires differentiated responses that address this complexity. There is a disconnect between research, policy, and the physical activity experiences of older people which leads to over-generalized policy and practice in the promotion and delivery of community sport to older people. This paper presents findings from a complex community sport project employing a coproduction framework with low income older age people. Participatory community approaches including focus group discussions, and extended observations and informal conversations throughout the project develop understanding of the complexities of aging and community sport engagement among older people with limited income. Three themes are identified and discussed: (1) lived experience, aging bodies, and the changing dynamics of involvement in sport and exercise in the life course, (2) embodying aging—moving beyond practical barriers for understanding aging, lived experience and being physically active, and (3) corporeal pleasures of older sporting bodies. The paper concludes that there is a need to explore the significance of locally specific public knowledge from older people which directly addresses the complexity and inequalities of individuals' everyday lives in their communities; lived experiences likely to impact on preferences for, engagement in, and enjoyment of physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalFrontiers in Sociology
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2019

Keywords

  • aging
  • community sport
  • coproduction
  • embodiment
  • physical activity

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