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“It’s More Than Just Exercise”: Tailored Exercise at a Community-Based Activity Center as a Liminal Space along the Road to Mental Health Recovery and Citizenship

1
Department of Nutrition and Public Health, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences, University in Agder, 4604 Kristiansand, Norway
2
Unit for Decision and Coordination of Services, Department of Health and Care, 4611 Kristiansand, Norway
3
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, Southampton General Hospital, University of Southampton, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
4
District Psychiatric Center Østre Agder, Clinic for Mental Health and Addiction, Sørlandet Hospital, 4824 Bjorbekk, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(19), 10516; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910516
Received: 31 August 2021 / Revised: 26 September 2021 / Accepted: 2 October 2021 / Published: 7 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Healthy Life: Sport, Medicine and Care)
Mental health care policies call for health-promoting and recovery-oriented interventions, as well as community-based programs supporting healthier habits. The purpose of this study was to explore how individuals facing mental health challenges experienced participating in tailored exercise at a community-based activity center, and what role tailored exercise could play in supporting an individual’s process of recovery. Data were collected through in-depth interviews with nine adults experiencing poor mental health who engaged in exercise at the activity center. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using systematic text condensation. Participants spoke about the community-based program being a safe space where they could “come as they are” (Theme 1). Taking part in the program was “more than just exercise” and allowed them to connect with others (Theme 2). The experiences they gained from exercise also helped with other areas in life and provided them with a safe space to build their confidence towards the “transition back to the outside” (Theme 3). We summarized the findings into one overall theme: “inside vs. outside”. In conclusion, a community-based activity center acted as a liminal space that aided mental health recovery by allowing participants to feel safe, accepted and supported, as well as experience citizenship. The findings highlight the need to treat mental health challenges as a contextual phenomenon and creating arenas for community and citizenship in society. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental health challenges; physical activity; exercise; community-based activity center; recovery; citizenship; qualitative method mental health challenges; physical activity; exercise; community-based activity center; recovery; citizenship; qualitative method
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MDPI and ACS Style

Danielsen, K.K.; Øydna, M.H.; Strömmer, S.; Haugjord, K. “It’s More Than Just Exercise”: Tailored Exercise at a Community-Based Activity Center as a Liminal Space along the Road to Mental Health Recovery and Citizenship. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 10516. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910516

AMA Style

Danielsen KK, Øydna MH, Strömmer S, Haugjord K. “It’s More Than Just Exercise”: Tailored Exercise at a Community-Based Activity Center as a Liminal Space along the Road to Mental Health Recovery and Citizenship. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(19):10516. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910516

Chicago/Turabian Style

Danielsen, Kjersti Karoline, May Helena Øydna, Sofia Strömmer, and Kenneth Haugjord. 2021. "“It’s More Than Just Exercise”: Tailored Exercise at a Community-Based Activity Center as a Liminal Space along the Road to Mental Health Recovery and Citizenship" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 19: 10516. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph181910516

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