Medicalization of Exercise Through Vigilance, Productivity, and Self-Care: A Secondary Data Analysis of Qualitative Interviews Among Those With Multiple Sclerosis

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly
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  • 1 Department of Health Sciences, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs, CO, USA
  • | 2 Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA
  • | 3 School of Kinesiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA
  • | 4 Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
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Exercise is becoming more integrated into the management of multiple sclerosis (MS) and is promoted to manage impairments and symptoms. Whereas extensive research outlines factors impacting participation, less is known regarding how medicalized exercise promotion might impact views of exercise and self. We conducted a secondary data analysis to understand how medicalized exercise-promotion paradigms impact the meaning and roles of exercise among those with MS. Twenty-two interviews were selected for reanalysis with an interpretative phenomenological analysis methodology and a critical disability studies lens. Three themes were identified: Constant Vigilance (worry about exercise), Productivity and Social Engagement (exercise to feel productive, engage socially, and enhance self-worth), and Exercise as Medicine/Self-Care (exercise to manage MS, relax, improve mental well-being, prevent/reverse disability, and stay healthy). This research underscores that exercise occupies many contradictory roles reflecting a medicalized exercise-promotion paradigm for those with MS, and this should inform exercise promotion practices.

B. Adamson (badamso2@uccs.edu) corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1796-4047

Supplementary Materials

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