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Ross D. Neville, Catherine Gorman, Sheila Flanagan, and Frédéric Dimanche

By shifting our attention toward everyday life, its manifold commitments and responsibilities, this paper examines the potential for “fitness” to take on an extended meaning beyond consumption activity. In the opening sections, Robert Nozick’s (1974) “Experience Machine” thought experiment is presented as an alternative analytic frame for interpreting the problem of fitness in terms of a tension between mere activity and experience. In relation to this tension, the paper presents findings from a study of experienced participants and emphasizes the possibilities of a virtuous production through fitness. In particular, we emphasize that there is much work to be done in sedimenting (and maintaining) an appropriate frame of reference for “doing fitness” and that “being someone through fitness” might operate as an indexical marker of virtue.

En dirigeant notre attention vers la vie de tous les jours et ses multiples engagements et responsabilités, nous examinons dans cet article le potentiel du « fitness » d’avoir une signification étendue au-delà de l’activité de consommation. Dans les premières sections, l’expérience de pensée de la « machine à expérience » de Robert Nozick (1974) est présentée comme un cadre analytique alternatif pour l’interprétation du problème de la condition physique en termes de tension entre simple activité et expérience. En lien avec cette tension, cet article présente les résultats d’une étude de participants expérimentés et met l’accent sur les possibilités d’une production vertueuse par l’intermédiaire de la condition physique. En particulier, nous soulignons qu’il y a beaucoup de travail à faire dans la sédimentation (et le maintien) d’un cadre de référence approprié pour « faire de l’activité physique » et qu’« être quelqu’un par l’intermédiaire de la condition physique » peut agir comme indicateur de vertu.

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Catherine B. Woods, Norah M. Nelson, Donal J. O’Gorman, Eimear Foley, and Niall M. Moyna


The Take PART study—Physical Activity Research for Teenagers—was undertaken to assess (1) physical activity and sedentary behaviors, (2) indices of health and fitness, and (3) to provide information, from a social ecological perspective, on the correlates of physical activity in a large sample of 15- to 17-year-old Irish adolescents. This manuscript outlines the rationale and methodology of the Take PART study.


A sample of 4720 students (mean age = 16.03 years ± 0.66, range 15 to 17 years; 49.5% female) participated. Fifty participants were assessed during each 3-hour school visit, with a ratio of 1 researcher to 10 students. Standardized testing procedures and extensive researcher training ensured that intertester and intratester reliability for all physical measures was ≥.85. The height, weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, blood pressure, and cardiorespiratory fitness protocols are explained. The questionnaire used well-known, valid, and reliable self-report measures. Where appropriate, additional psychometric testing was undertaken.


Take PART is a school-based study. Its methods are simple, easy to replicate, financially viable, and scientifically valid. Its unique dataset will allow the evaluation of a social ecological approach as a viable option for improving understanding of youth inactivity. Ultimately, this knowledge will assist in successful intervention design.