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How Are University Gyms Used by Staff and Students? A Mixed-Method Study Exploring Gym Use, Motivation, and Communication in Three UK Gyms

Author

Listed:
  • Frances Rapport

    () (Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia)

  • Hayley Hutchings

    () (Institute of Life Sciences, College of Medicine, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK)

  • Marcus A. Doel

    () (Department of Geography, College of Science, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK)

  • Bridget Wells

    () (Institute of Life Sciences, College of Medicine, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK)

  • Clare Clement

    () (Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TH, UK)

  • Stephen Mellalieu

    () (Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff CF5 2YB, UK)

  • Sergei Shubin

    () (Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TH, UK)

  • David Brown

    () (Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University, Cardiff CF5 2YB, UK)

  • Rebecca Seah

    () (Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia)

  • Sarah Wright

    () (Patient Knows Best, St John’s Innovation Centre, Cambridge CB4 0W, UK)

  • Andrew Sparkes

    () (Carnegie School of Sport, Leeds Becket University, Leeds LS1 3HE, UK)

Abstract

This study examined university gym use by staff and students using mixed methods: participant observation and an e-survey. Research in three UK universities entailed 16 observation sessions and an e-survey that reached 3396 students and staff. The research focused on gym use, the gym environment, the presentation of the self, and social interaction within gym spaces. The gyms were found to have a difficult role to play in providing functionality for some, while helping others to be active and minimize feelings of isolation and lack of control. This led to these gyms developing spaces of exercise rather than therapeutic spaces, and divisions in use of space, with some areas rarely used and often highly gendered, resulting in contested meanings produced within Healthy University discourses and physical activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Frances Rapport & Hayley Hutchings & Marcus A. Doel & Bridget Wells & Clare Clement & Stephen Mellalieu & Sergei Shubin & David Brown & Rebecca Seah & Sarah Wright & Andrew Sparkes, 2018. "How Are University Gyms Used by Staff and Students? A Mixed-Method Study Exploring Gym Use, Motivation, and Communication in Three UK Gyms," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(1), pages 1-16, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsoctx:v:8:y:2018:i:1:p:15-:d:134175
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Baicker, Katherine & Cutler, David M. & Song, Zirui, 2010. "Workplace Wellness Programs Can Generate Savings," Scholarly Articles 5345879, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Roberta Sassatelli, 1999. "Fitness Gyms and the Local Organization of Experience," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 4(3).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    gym use; gym culture; university staff; university students; higher education;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • P - Economic Systems
    • P0 - Economic Systems - - General
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • P3 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions
    • P4 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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