New Paper: Healthy Mobilities

I have a new paper out in Transfers on ‘Healthy Mobilities’. It was a collaboration with the brilliant health geographer Dr Sarah Bell and a fun one to contemplate and develop.

The paper was an invited contribution to the journal’s ‘Ideas in Motion’ section, which are more ‘spontaneous and speculative contributions … designed to stimulate debates by flagging new thinking in our field, sometimes before the issues have been carefully thought through’.

It was an invitation to re-reflect on the intersection of health and mobility, considering how the pandemic may have altered traditional understandings of what movements were healthy. As we wrote the piece, the pandemic took on a less central role in our argument, which in hindsight was a good idea. Although it was a ‘spontaneous contribution’, it has taken almost a year for it to actually appear online and be readable – so not as immediate as we thought.

As detailed in this unrolled Twitter thread below, the paper seeks to question which sorts of movements are seen as healthy, how health is understood in determining the healthiness of movement, and whose health is considered in such mobility. We build on work in therapeutic mobilities through insights from post-humanism and more-than-therapeutic approaches to health to invite consideration of the entanglement of individual, collective and planetary health tied up in our mobile practices as well as to consider health beyond a biomedical lense and beyond recovery-oriented approaches. We exemplify such thinking through two examples – sport/exercise and the differential mobilities of those with disabilities.

Twitter unroll

Belated 🚨new paper klaxon 🚨

‘Healthy Mobilities’ alongside the brilliant @SarahBell85 is now out in Ideas in Motion @TransfersJrnl

In it, we contemplate the intersection of #mobility & #health & some future directions for this thinking


Building on existing concepts of therapeutic mobilities, in this paper we question what forms of health and whose health are considered when considering the ‘healthiness’ of mobile practices.


We draw on post-human, more-than-therapeutic & beyond-biomedical approaches to health to consider the diverse ways that health takes shape among diverse living entities in motion, and how individual, collective and planetary health are bound up in our mobile practices.


We exemplify this firstly through sport and exercise mobilities. While perhaps a prime example of healthy mobility through a biomedical lens, we show how our understanding of such practices can be improved by considering more-than-therapeutic aspects of sport/exercise


And why it is vital to consider the impact sport and exercise mobilities have on the health of others, of other species and of the planet to advance thinking around mobilities and health.


Next, we trace our approach through differential mobilities, including the finely tuned movement-repertoires developed by disabled people.

The public health priority to move more and at greater intensity can be damaging for people with disabling conditions.


A more inclusive conceptualisation of healthy mobilities is needed to reflect the plurality of people’s mobile practices & the limits to health through mobility. This helps understand how the unique movement repertoires of the differentially mobile unfold & can be supported


Our healthy mobilities approach takes inspiration from multiscalar, more-than-human approaches to
health to question what being in healthy motion might mean and whose health is entangled in such movements.


We hope this helps move beyond humancentric, cure-oriented approaches to health and mobility in order to understand how health takes shape among different living entities in motion, foregrounding the interdependence of human and nonhuman health


We hope this piece will instigate deeper & wider critical discussions about health in motion—discussions that would be much enriched by Indigenous intellectuals, activists, & decolonial
scholars to counter entrenched colonial & Eurocentric assumptions about what health is.


Open access link to the article here:

It’s embargoed until Dec but do message me if you’d like a copy.

Thanks to @wqlin29 for the invitation to write the piece and to @SarahBell85 for her tremendous collaboration. A really wonderful co-author I have learned a great deal from.


Originally tweeted by Simon Cook (@SimonIanCook) on March 14, 2022.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s