Theorizing health activity performance through rhythm, practice and habit — ASN Events

Theorizing health activity performance through rhythm, practice and habit (12895)

Julia McQuoid 1
  1. Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australia

After decades of public health education campaigns such as Australia’s ‘Measure Up’ weight loss campaign, lifestyle-related health conditions continue to rise globally. This paper addresses the problem of why many of us struggle to perform health-preserving activities in daily life which we know are beneficial to our health. Approaches to this problem of health activity performance are, in crude terms: 1) those focusing on health education and in individuals willing themselves into achieving health-related goals, and 2) those interested in the roles of environmental factors such as walkability in a person’s residential environment. This project attempts to further bridge the gap between ‘individual’ and ‘environment’ in understanding health activity performance by focusing on ways in which the two are mutually transforming in everyday life. The daily paths and activities of individuals in time and space are taken as a starting point, because there environmental exposure occurs, health-activities are performed and habits are formed and displaced. I propose that the transformative powers of repetition inherent to everyday living can be grasped by examining the interplay of rhythms (Lefebvre) - including those produced by practices (Shove) - and the force of habit (Ravaisson) in routinizing health activities. It is proposed that interacting everyday rhythms may support or challenge the repetition of an activity, ultimately minimizing or compounding the effort required to integrate it into daily life. This paper presents preliminary findings from a qualitative case study of individuals living with Chronic Kidney Disease in the Australian Capital Territory and nearby communities.