Dr. Christina Johnson
Participation year
Project title

Life is Not a Spectator Sport:  Narratives of Physical Activity, Health and Strength


"Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure" World Health Organization, 2010).  Many people benefit by having healthier lifestyles if they increase their physical activity (, 2010).  When many individuals think about physical activity, exercise or structured activity may come to mind.  If exercise is coming to mind, it is hard to be physically active if there is no place to exercise or participate in planned physical activity.  If people define physical activity as exercise and do not have access to a recreational facility, they may remain inactive.  Often, rural communities do not have a recreational facility, thus making it difficult to be active.  The purpose of this study was to gain a greater understanding of physical activity patterns among individuals in rural communities and how physical activity affects their identities as healthy, strong and active persons.  Twenty five women, between the ages of 30 and 90, participated in the study. Participants were interviewed; audio recorded and verbatim transcripts were made of the recording.  Preliminary results reveal that most women do physical activity such as working on the farm, spending time with their families, volunteering in the community, going to church and exercising.  Results also suggest that their identities as healthy, strong, and active individuals improve by doing physical activity.

Interamerican University of Puerto Rico