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

Frances Rapporrt, Hayley Hutchings, Marcus Doel, bridget Wells, Clare Clement, Stephen Mellalieu , Sergei Shubin, David Brown, Rebecca Seah, Sarah Wright, Andrew Sparkes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocieties
Early online date28 Feb 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018

Keywords

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

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