How does disability experience fitness: an autoethnographic analysis of the intersection of disability and fitness

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Kuehl, Cade
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Disability interpretations of fitness are rare. Ideals of athleticism, aesthetics, and the body often reside at the extreme opposite end of the disability continuum, as far from impairment as possible. But being disabled does not necessarily make one unfit, just as it does not necessarily make one unhealthy. As a person with Cerebral Palsy (CP) I have found fitness pursuits alluring, especially once I started receiving messages that I was presumed not to belong in most considerations of fitness due to my disability. My engagement with others in fitness contexts is rife with politics of disability, namely, where I do and do not belong spatially, contextually, and conceptually with regard to fitness. My presence in fitness facilities has been regarded between provisional, spectacular, and worrying. It became clear these incidents had value to lend to discussions of disability’s intersection with fitness, exemplifying foundational theory and begging new questions. Perhaps more importantly, relating politically charged narratives stood to raise awareness of the unacknowledged and unquestioned politics of fitness and the discussions which still need to take place.
Fitness, Disability, Cerebral Palsy