Lifestyle and adventure sport among youth

Paul Gilchrist, Belinda Wheaton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


An important characteristic and intensifying trend in the twenty-first century within Western sporting cultures is an increase in the range and diversity of sports practices, particularly more informal and individualistic activities. A vibrant example of this trend is the emergence and growth of what the academic and popular literature has variously termed extreme, alternative, adventure and lifestyle sports. In this chapter we consider the growing popularity and significance of these sports, illustrating their impact on the contemporary sporting landscape. First, we explore what lifestyle sports are and the ways in which they have impacted contemporary youth lifestyles, focusing on the UK, where much of our own research has been conducted and North America, where many of these sports originated and have had most impact on the sportscape. We consider how we can understand and conceptualise the youth (sub)cultures and identities that underpin them, and highlight some of the key trends in their development, including commercialisation. Second, the chapter reviews literature on lifestyle sports as an urban spatial practice and the attendant cultural politics associated with youth lifestyles expressed in urban environments through street sports like skateboarding and parkour/free-running. Third, acknowledging the virtual/real interface at the forefront of youth identities and experiences, we consider the role of digital media in fuelling the popularity, culture and economy of lifestyle sports.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Youth Sport
EditorsK. Green, A. Smith
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)978041584003
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2016

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Routledge Handbook of Youth Sport on 07/01/2016, available online:


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