Professor Cassie Phoenix Guest Lecture


On the 22nd November we were delighted to welcome Professor Cassie Phoenix to the University to give a public talk reflecting on her research and work on physical activity, movement and ageing. Cassie is Director of the Moving Bodies Lab at Durham University. The lab forms part of Durham’s Discovery Research Platform for Medical Humanities and is funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Cassie’s presentation highlighted the often under acknowledged complexities associated with physical activity in older age. While Cassie acknowledged the value of national guidelines for physical activity levels in older age, the experience and process of being and keeping active is about much more than simply changing behaviour or achieving the guideline standards. Emotional dimensions, such as, feelings about our ageing bodies, biographical experiences of physical activity and the value and emphasis placed on physical activity with and for older people, can all significantly influence older people’s experience, feelings and willingness to be physically active. How we feel about physical activity and our ageing bodies often influenced by pervasive ageism and age based stereotypes. While the ‘exercise is good for you’ motif can hardly be challenged, much less attention is paid the subjective dimensions of physical activity. For example, experiencing joy and pleasure in movement, capability and capacity, independence, social fulfilment and fun. Cassie reflected on the importance of self-compassionate movement which acknowledges the realities of busy lives; injury and managing uncertainty or variability for people living with long term conditions. Cassie concluded her talk by highlighting the different ways in which we might develop and deliver movement and physical activity programmes for people as they age which recognise and take account of the complexities of being and keeping physically active.

We were delighted to welcome so many TAPA network members as well as members of the public and colleagues from the University. The audience participated with thoughtful reflections and questions for Cassie which stimulated further debate and discussion.

Cassie very kindly shared her power point presentation (please see enclosed)

If you would like to learn more about Cassie’s work at the Moving Bodies Lab please go to: Moving Bodies - Durham University