School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences


Exercise medicine and rehabilitation

Our work in this research area focusses on 1) the assessment of impaired physical capacity and 2) the effectiveness of physical activity and exercise in:

1)    The prevention, treatment and management of long term medical conditions (both physical and mental health disorders).

2)    Rehabilitation and recovery from musculoskeletal trauma

We collaborate closely with the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) in this research area

Staff aligned to this research area:

Recent projects:

Exercise in kidney disease

Lougborough University contributors: Dr Lettie Bishop, Dr Naomi Martin (Post-Doctoral Research Associate), and Dr David Stensel

Project Description

Chronic kidney disease affects around 8% of the population in the UK.  Patients at all stages of kidney disease have dysfunctional immune systems and as a result, have a high risk of mortality from infections and have high levels of inflammatory proteins that increase the symptoms of their kidney disease and place them at high risk of cardiovascular disease.  

We know from our other on-going projects that the right amount and type of exercise can reduce the risk of infections and systemic inflammation, but there is currently little information for kidney patients and the clinicians that care for them.  We are currently investigating the ways that exercise can be beneficial in patients who are not in need of dialysis, in those who are receiving dialysis therapy, and also in those who have received a kidney transplant. 

Collaborating Partners: Dr Alice Smith (Senior Clinical Scientist, Leicester Kidney Exercise Team Leicester University and UHL), Dr James Burton (Consultant Nephrologist and NIHR Clinical Scientist, Leicester University and UHL).

Funding/ Support: NIHR (BRU). 

Weblink to BRU:

ProAct65+ bone study

Loughborough University contributors: Katherine Brooke-Wavell and Rachel Duckham

Project Description:

The ProAct65+ bone study is an RCT examining the influence of exercise on bone health in older people recruited through primary care and part of the wider ProACt65+ study led by UCL. The ProAct 65+ bone study is one of the largest exercise interventions on bone to date and demonstrated that these exercises did not benefit bone density. This is important as guidelines may often recommend “exercise” with limited further detail- it is important to highlight that not all exercise works for all outcomes.

Collaborators: Professor Steve Iliffe (Professor of Primary Care in Older People) and colleagues from the Department of Primary Care and Population Health, UCL, Professor Denise Kendrick, Professor of Primary Care, Nottingham University and colleagues, Professor Tahir Masud, Professor of Musculoskeletal Gerontology, Nottingham University Hospitals, Professor Richard Morris, Professor of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, currently Bristol University, Professor Dawn Skelton, Professor in Ageing and Health, Glasgow Caledonian University, and  Professor Heather Gage, Professor of Health Economics, University of Surrey

Funder: National Osteoporosis Society (ProACt 65+ bone study) and the National Institute of Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme (ProAct 65+)


Physical activity for cancer patients and those recovering from cancer

Loughborough University Contributors: Fehmidah Munir (Loughborough; SSEHS) and Kajal Gokal (Loughborough SSEHS); and Debbie Wallis (Loughborough; SSEHS)

Project Description:

The Loughborough team are working in collaboration with others in designing, delivering and/or evaluating a range of different physical activity interventions to improve a range of health, well-being, and quality of life indicators.  

Our recent study shows that using a self-managed approach to encourage walking whilst undergoing chemotherapy treatment gives patients control over their lives and improves health and well-being.  Ours is one of the first studies to show that walking regularly improves aspects of memory (assessed using the digit span task) for breast cancer patients. Memory is one of the cognitive problems most often experienced by breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

Further work is planned particularly with regard to sedentary behaviour among cancer patients and survivors as well as in using a community-based approach to encourage those recovering from cancer to be regularly active.

Collaborators: Dr Samreen Ahmed (University Hospitals of Leicester); Tim Hatton (Notts County Football in the Community), Emma Trent (Notts County Football in the Community); Elaine Wilson (Macmillan Cancer Support)