Using a dialogical narrative approach, we explored how disabled people made sense of their gym experiences as part of a peer group. Interviews were conducted with 18 disabled people (10 men and 8 women, aged 23–60) who had experience exercising in the gym as part of a group. Data were rigorously analyzed using a dialogical narrative analysis. Within their peer group, participants crafted a collective story that they used to resist disablism in the gym. The dialogical components of the collective story functioned to (a) validate participants’ experiences of oppression in the gym, (b) forge an unspoken understanding with peers, (c) craft a more affirmative identity, and (d) instill a sense of empowerment in participants so that they can tell their own story. This study extends knowledge in the field of exercise and disability by showing that despite the oppression disabled people experienced in the gym, they can create a collective story, which is useful for helping to promote and sustain exercise in this space.
Collective Stories of Exercise: Making Sense of Gym Experiences With Disabled Peers
Emma V. Richardson, Brett Smith, and Anthony Papathomas
“Shall We Dance?” Older Adults’ Perspectives on the Feasibility of a Dance Intervention for Cognitive Function
Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Anthony Papathomas, Jonathan Foster, Eleanor Quested, and Nikos Ntoumanis
We explored perceptions of social dance as a possible intervention to improve cognitive function in older adults with subjective memory complaints. A total of 30 participants (19 females; mean age = 72.6 years; SD = 8.2) took part in the study. This included 21 participants who had self-reported subjective memory complaints and nine spouses who noticed spousal memory loss. Semistructured interviews were conducted, and a thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Three main themes were constructed: (a) dance seen as a means of promoting social interaction; (b) chronic illness as a barrier and facilitator to participation; and (c) social dance representing nostalgic connections to the past. Overall, the participants were positive about the potential attractiveness of social dance to improve cognitive and social functioning and other aspects of health. In future research, it is important to examine the feasibility of a social dance intervention among older adults with subjective memory complaints.
Challenges to Engaging Older Adults in a Group-Based Walking Intervention: Lessons From the Residents in Action Trial
Jenny L. Olson, Anthony Papathomas, Marlene Kritz, Nikos Ntoumanis, Eleanor Quested, and Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani
This qualitative research explored older adults’ perceptions of participating in group-based walking programs set in independent-living retirement village contexts. Semistructured interviews were conducted with a subset of participants from the Residents in Action Trial. Data were analyzed through a combination of deductive and inductive thematic analysis. Findings were interpreted from a social identity perspective. Five themes were identified: (a) varying levels of social cohesion in retirement villages; (b) degree of shared identity between residents; (c) health, mobility, and preferred pace; (d) devotion to spouse; and (e) busy lives. When designing group-based walking interventions in retirement villages, it is important to consider community-level social cohesion and degree of relatedness between village residents. When attempting to build a sense of shared identity and relatedness between group members, researchers and policy makers should consider differing backgrounds, capabilities, schedules, and interests of participants.