Of pain and pleasure: a plaidoyer for the pleasure of movement

Sabine Krajewski*, Fen Li

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


People across the world move less than they used to and much less than recommended by governments and health organisations. There is consensus that a lack of exercise, together with other factors, leads to preventable illnesses such as heart disease or T2 diabetes. Research has for decades theorised around enabling factors and barriers, but there still is no answer to what makes regular exercise more desirable. Research increasingly focuses on affective models and reactions to physical activity, to determine what motivates people to include exercise in their lifestyles over time, and what does not. Scheduled, regular exercise in community-based studios is increasingly marketed as an investment in the self. Pilates, Yoga and barre classes promise mental and physical strength and health – in that order - refocusing from weight-loss and better-looking bodies to mental wellbeing and healthy bodies. Using principles of hedonism and Health Lifestyle Theory, we analyse a case study located in middle-class suburbs of Sydney, Australia. The results of an online questionnaire with 80 valid responses and 13 follow-up interviews reveal that current discourses create expectations that will most likely not be met and that the determinants of motivation may be more deeply rooted in how people feel about exercise than what they know about health.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture Unbound
Publication statusIn preparation - 2021


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