Older adults’ lifelong embodied experiences of leisure time aquatic physical activity in the United Kingdom

Evans, Adam and Sleap, Mike (2013) Older adults’ lifelong embodied experiences of leisure time aquatic physical activity in the United Kingdom. In: 11th European Sociological Association Conference: Crisis, Critique and Change, 28.08.2013-31.08.2013, Turin.

Full content URL: http://www.esa11thconference.eu/the-conference

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Older adults’ lifelong embodied experiences of leisure time aquatic physical activity in the United Kingdom
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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Aquatic physical activity has considerable benefits for older adults. However, participation rates remain low in the UK. Recognition of the importance of embodied and narrative elements of ageing has increased in recent times. Old age is considered a life stage interdependent with other, earlier life stages, rather than as a distinct period. This study used a figurational perspective to investigate older adults changing perceptions and embodied experiences of aquatic activity throughout their life courses. Perceptions were contextualized by completion of a literature review relating to the development of recreational aquatic activity in the UK. Participants were cognizant of changes in provision and envisaged purpose of aquatic activity during their lifetimes. Previous embodied experiences of aquatic activity contoured present perceptions and helped participants’ rationalize their experiences in the present context. Descriptions of positive early experiences emphasized the social and spatial context of aquatic activity. Also, negative experiences were recounted in which the olfactory and haptic elements of embodiment were described. Participants were able to recount detailed experiences of poor pool hygiene and threatening experiences of learning to swim during early experiences. The importance of support from family members in the pool environment was also outlined. The significance of lifelong experiences is recognized in relation to figurational principles, including the interweaving of long-term socialization and short-term, magnified moments and their effects on habitus development. The implications for physical activity provision in relation to the longitudinal development of older adults’ perceptions are notable.

Keywords:Ageing, Recreation, Aquatic Physical Activity, Embodied Experiences
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:11756
Deposited On:02 Sep 2013 12:10

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