“Unbeknown to you, they really watch you!”: experiencing the ageing, physically active body in cardiac rehabilitation

Evans, Adam and Crust, Lee (2013) “Unbeknown to you, they really watch you!”: experiencing the ageing, physically active body in cardiac rehabilitation. In: University of Lincoln Research Forum, 16.07.2013, University of Lincoln.

NHS Research Forum Presentation July 2013 a.pdf
NHS Research Forum Presentation July 2013 a.pdf

Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Presentation)
Item Status:Live Archive


Whilst Sociological studies of embodiment are increasing in the fields of ageing, physical activity and health are growing, there is a dearth of in-depth research on how the physically active body is experienced during rehabilitation from serious illness. This paper presents data obtained through fourteen interviews completed with participants in a cardiac rehabilitation scheme in the East of England. A figurational approach was utilised which emphasised the need for participants to delineate their own logic of experience from the perspective of their active body during cardiac rehabilitation. Data were thematically analysed using figurational principles as a guide. This permitted individual experiences to be situated in wider power relationships within and beyond the exercise class. Participants’ perceptions of their embodied self were grounded in embodied identities prior to, during and after treatment and perceptions of self in the present. A number of recurring themes emerged, including participants’ under-estimation of initial symptoms, shock and dislocation created by diagnosis, and uncertainty created by treatment in unfamiliar circumstances. During rehabilitation, participants negotiated a complex interweaving of identities which centred upon their changing sense of embodiment. Self-images were socially produced and moderated by others in the rehabilitation figuration, including via health and exercise professionals and other participants. Respondents constantly defined and revised their own embodied identity in relation to other rehabilitating bodies. The extent to which participants were empowered within the exercise setting was highly heterogeneous. This has implications for the delivery of exercise rehabilitation schemes, particularly in terms of the messages participants are given regarding the heterogeneity of recovery trajectories that could be experienced.

Keywords:Embodiment, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Physical activity, Figurations, Identity
Subjects:L Social studies > L300 Sociology
L Social studies > L510 Health & Welfare
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Sport and Exercise Science
ID Code:11255
Deposited On:17 Jul 2013 08:01

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