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Health Place. 2019 Oct 11;60:102212. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2019.102212. [Epub ahead of print]

'A lot better than medicine' - Self-organised ocean swimming groups as facilitators for healthy ageing.

Author information

1
School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, 270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia. Electronic address: l.costello@ecu.edu.au.
2
All Into Ocean Pools Inc, Western Australia, Australia. Electronic address: marielouisemcdermott@me.com.
3
School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, 270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia. Electronic address: p.patel@ecu.edu.au.
4
School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, 270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup, Western Australia, Australia. Electronic address: j.dare@ecu.edu.au.

Abstract

Exercise, spending time in nature and feeling part of a supportive community all contribute to better physical and mental health and to healthy ageing. This focused ethnography investigates how participation in self-organised ocean swimming groups contributes to healthy ageing amongst older men and women in the Australian coastal city of Perth. It explores the ways marine life, personal experiences and social connectedness mediate their group use of public blue space, and highlights that group membership promotes participants' enhanced health and wellbeing, and supports development of self-efficacy and resilience. These findings suggest that more inclusive access to ocean swimming and other forms of active or adventure-based leisure activities should be advocated from a public health perspective.

KEYWORDS:

Adventure-based leisure; Blue space; Focused ethnography; Healthy ageing; Open-water swimmers

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