Health messages and instructional practices
D'Abundo, Michelle Lee
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The purpose of this study was to understand the content and delivery of health messages in aerobic classes for women. This study applied a theoretical framework influenced by principles from adult learning and instruction, critical and feminist theory, and health education. This qualitative research explored the practices of five aerobic instructors working at nonprofit or wellness focused facilities using information gathered from interviews and participant observations. Three major conclusions were reached in this study involving the health messages in classes and the instructional practices of aerobic instructors. First, there was a limited amount of general, preventative health information conveyed by aerobic instructors that was predominately focused on physical health with little attention paid to intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental health. The second conclusion was that there were contradictory messages of health, aesthetics, and women’s physicality conveyed by aerobic instructors. Finally, aerobic instructors used instructional techniques that included teacher, content and learner centered methods. Despite the nonprofit and wellness based environment of the exercise facilities in this research, there was still an over emphasis on the physical aspect of aerobic classes. Therefore, the potential wellness- related benefits of aerobic classes for women especially in environments that identified themselves as wellness facilities were diminished. In order to create a “healthy aerobics classroom,” information and recommendations about adult education techniques and wellness focused orientations discussed in this research must be applied to aerobic classes for women.