Bonnie Ratcliff

Bonnie is in her final year of the Master of Social Work (Qualifying) at the University of Sydney. In 2021 she completed her student placement with Neami National, where she contributed to research on best practice in physical activity initiatives. Recently, she assisted with a research project to inform practice with parents with intellectual disabilities who are involved in child protection proceedings. Bonnie also works a Community Support Worker with older people and people with disability. 





Abstract title: Physical Movement: Challenging the medical model of exercise

Presentation type: General

Author(s): Bonnie Ratcliff


Introduction: The established idea of exercise and physical activity as something that we ‘should’ do is associated with feelings of shame or guilt around any inaction towards set goals and guidelines. What if physical activity could be reframed as an experience that is fluid, accessible and part of daily life? 

Method: A literature review that applies an integrative methodology, folding in consumer and stakeholder expertise, to generate critical perspectives. 

Results and Findings: This literature review shifts the focus away from prescriptive physical activity, and towards a concept of movement that sees people doing what feels good and is meaningful. Moving around the home, getting out in nature, spending time with others; these are whole-of-person and whole-of-life experiences that involve movement, but are often overlooked by the medical and individualised model of exercise. Grounded by the Social and Emotional Wellbeing framework, these movements are not only connected to physical and mental wellbeing, but also to the social, emotional, cultural, spiritual aspects of the individual and collective self.

Discussion: This research challenges how organisations develop and implement physical activity programs. It presents an alternative vision for future practice and research. 

Ratcliff, Bonnie 2022 02 28