Physical Activity and Health Across the Lifespan

Current physical activity guidelines for children and adults recommend overall amounts of activity to be achieved over a day/week. Little is known about how this activity should be accumulated despite evidence that different patterns of physical activity are required to reduce the risk of different diseases. For example, physical activity frequency is important for insulin sensitivity and glycaemic control; intensity (walking pace) is for heart disease risk and type (sharp bursts of weight-bearing PA) is for bone health. Although total amounts of physical activity are known to affect health they may not be sufficient to explain differences in health outcomes; therefore, particular temporal patterns of physical activity behaviour may be critical. Our research is focused on trying to characterise detailed patterns of physical activity to determine which patterns are most strongly associated with which disease or condition. This is important for public health messages about how much of what type of activity is important and would also help to understand adherence to specific physical activity messages following intervention.

Our interdisciplinary research specialisms link pre-clinical laboratory and fundamental research with epidemiological and intervention studies to enhance our understanding of the relationship between physical activity and health across the lifespan.

Our group comprises diverse expertise including:

  • Adult and paediatric health and exercise physiology
  • Physical activity measurement methodology
  • Physical activity epidemiology and public health
  • Evaluation and design of physical activity interventions
  • Associations of physical activity, bone health and injury
  • Psychology of exercise and physical activity
  • Physical activity data modelling and analysis