University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

‘When Will We Get Labradors on Prescription?’ Exploring the Pleasures and Perils of Physical Activity.

Peel, Elizabeth (2014) ‘When Will We Get Labradors on Prescription?’ Exploring the Pleasures and Perils of Physical Activity. In: British Psychological Society West Midlands Branch, 13 May 2014, Birmingham. (Unpublished)

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In this talk I discuss the neo-liberal mandate to engage in, and maintain ‘moderate’ and ‘healthy’ levels of physical activity with reference to two studies – one focusing on people with type 2 diabetes (Peel et al., 2010); the other examining discourse about dementia onset and prevention (Peel, 2014). Physical activity is particularly important for people with type 2 diabetes, as evidence suggests that any reduction in sedentary time is good for metabolic health. Similarly, increased levels of physical activity are deemed important to ameliorate risk of developing dementia. I examine how, for people with diabetes, the discussion and salience of physical activity is marginal in accounts of self-management. Aside from walking, physical activities tended to attenuate over time. Dog walking significantly featured in these data and I explore three central themes: 1) incidental walking; 2) incremental physical activity gains; and 3) augmenting physical activity maintenance. Recent media reporting about dementia (e.g., ‘Why walking nine miles a week could save you from dementia’ (The Guardian)) foregrounds lifestyle and health behaviour modifications to ‘stave off’ the condition – and walking is part of that landscape. Taken together, I suggest that the ascendance of ‘healthist’ individualised mandates to ‘control’ health and chronic illness through sustaining appropriate levels of physical activity should be understood as fundamentally relational. Moreover, this relationality can include dogs as well as family, friends and wider support networks.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: physical activity, dementia, type 2 diabetes, health, chronic illness
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: Elizabeth Peel
Date Deposited: 13 Nov 2014 09:49
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:05

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