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Jogging not running: A narrative approach to exploring ‘exercise as leisure’ after a life in elite football

Jones, Luke; Denison, Jim


Luke Jones

Jim Denison


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.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 27, 2019
Online Publication Date Sep 5, 2019
Publication Date 2019-09
Deposit Date Nov 13, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 6, 2021
Journal Leisure Studies
Print ISSN 0261-4367
Electronic ISSN 1466-4496
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 38
Issue 6
Pages 831-844
Keywords Football; Leisure; Sociology; Sports retirement; Foucault
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:; Received: 2019-04-23; Accepted: 2019-08-27; Published: 2019-09-05
Contract Date Nov 18, 2019


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