I have over 15 years’ experience of doing research in old age, with a particular focus on understanding and theorising how older people make sense of and manage the process of bodily ageing from a cultural perspective. To undertake this process of reflection I have focused on the bodies of ageing athletes and more recently on the bodies of those who are less physically adept but are increasingly encouraged to develop an instrumental orientation to their bodies via health promotion and the prevention of secondary ageing. I have expertise in life history interviews as a way of capturing the phenomenology of embodiment and in particular the changes which operate over time. Life history interviews also allow us to make connections with the historical and structural features within which bodies are experienced and sensations interpreted. I am currently reflecting on the extent to which bodily control (via sports and physical activity) can lead to significant social change, that is a challenge to the discourse of decline but also to the cultural position of older people and older bodies, with a specific focus on gender.