As research has shown, former elite athletes often struggle to adapt to aspects of their post-sport lives. This can include the management of their identities, dealing with the uncertainty of their new roles, and negotiating the changes that occur to their bodies. In this paper we discuss an under-reported challenge facing retired athletes: how to manage their ongoing relationship with exercise. To address this issue we adopted a narrative approach, based on the first author’s experiences as a former football player, to provide a socio-cultural reading of the various challenges involved in the transition from exercise as a vocation to a leisure activity. We suggest that these stories demonstrate that in retirement, former athletes’ docility, while seemingly advantageous, can also be a significant obstacle to developing alternative meanings for exercise, including as a potential re-creative or leisure activity that can become meaningful and important in its own right.
Jones, L., & Denison, J. (2019). Jogging not running: A narrative approach to exploring ‘exercise as leisure’ after a life in elite football. Leisure Studies, 38(6), 831-844. https://doi.org/10.1080/02614367.2019.1662831