The meaning of movement in the everyday lives of Danish high school students: A phenomenological study exploring existential well-being as “dwelling mobility”

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Health-promoting initiatives focusing on physical activity include advice on integrating active behaviour into everyday activities pointing to a tendency to combine a health agenda with other agendas. From a public-health perspective, this might be a valuable strategy, but it calls for a conceptual awareness and exploration of the target groups’ perceptions of this broader concept of physical activity. Nested in a Danish intervention study aimed at increasing well-being among high-school students aged 16–17 through the promotion of movement, this study engages in a conceptual exploration of ‘movement in everyday lives’ related to well-being. Combining participant observation and photo-elicitation interviews, the study investigates different kinds of meaning experienced in relation to movement. Theoretically, the study is framed by existential phenomenology with a focus on corporeality, temporality and intersubjectivity. An existential theory of well-being is applied to a discussion of the relationship between bodily movement and well-being. The findings point to movement as a way for students to balance two existential modes within the dimensions of corporeality, temporality and intersubjectivity: one of activity and tenseness, and one of break and stillness. For the students, movement entails bodily experiences ranging from modes of self-forgetfulness to the body demanding attention in different ways; they experience movement as a break from everyday obligations, but also as a way of moving forward; and they experience movement as an occasion for being social and for withdrawing from the social worlds.
Original languageEnglish
JournalQualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health
ISSN2159-676X
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Mar 2020

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Movement, Well-being, High school student, Health promotion, Existential phenomenology

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