This paper examines the lived experience of older women participants in (a) a low-impact exercise to music (ETM) class and (b) a yoga class to uncover what is important for them in taking part in these classes. Researcher S is the instructor of the ETM group and draws upon individual and focus group interviews and participant observation. Researcher B is a member of the yoga class where she interviewed the women and undertook participant observations. Both authors are a similar age to the older women interviewees. Through a phenomenological interpretative approach, the paper examines the women’s perceptions of their exercise class and yoga experiences, highlighting pleasurable experiences and features that contribute to this enjoyment. The paper considers relationships between pleasure, wellbeing, the senses, physical activity, and aging, drawing upon a variety of analyses. It pays attention to the contextual features of the ETM and yoga classes in making available and accessible pleasurable physical activity experiences for the women and draws, in part, on ‘typologies’ of pleasure to frame the debate around older women, physical activity, and senses of pleasure. Our research highlights the considerable wellbeing affects for women when physical activity provision takes account of context (the spatial, cultural, social, and sentient).
Humberstone is a professor with Buckinghamshire New University, United Kingdom. Stuart is a researcher with Buckinghamshire New University, United Kingdom.