Enhancing engagement with sport and exercise

Drawing upon sociology, anthropology, psychology, economics, public health and physical education, we conduct large-scale practice-changing research that focuses on how sport, exercise and physical activity can enrich the quality of daily lives, across the lifespan.

Our collective research seeks to understand reasons for non-participation, methods of optimum engagement and multisectoral strategies and actions to get our nation more active.

Through leadership, knowledge translation, partnerships, training, education and advocacy we work closely with relevant stakeholders to ensure a direct impact of our research on national and international policy and practice.

building with grounds

Physical activity promotion in a secure mental health setting

Dr Flo Kinnafick, Dr Anthony Papathomas

Individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) have a reduced life expectancy of up to 25 years, largely due to physical health inequalities. However, people with SMI engage in significantly less amounts of physical activity than a healthy population and a secure mental health setting can exacerbate barriers to exercise and facilitate physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour. Dr Florence Kinnafick and Dr Anthony Papathomas are undertaking an original body of work, in collaboration with St Andrew’s Healthcare, that focuses on physical activity promotion in a secure mental health setting to improve mental and physical health outcomes. Two PhD students are using psychological intervention with the aim of achieving long term physical activity behaviour change to support both adults and adolescents as they undertake clinical treatment.

children running at school

Enhancing the implementation of running programmes in UK schools

Dr Lauren Sherar

There is growing interest in school-based interventions which deliver opportunities for additional physical activity time outside of physical education. A practical and cost-effective approach may be school based running programmes. Consequently, many school-based running initiatives, such as the Daily Mile, are currently being implemented in a grass-roots style movement across the UK. However, research on the implementation of physical activity programmes in schools is notably underdeveloped.

Funded by the London Marathon and Kids Run Free Charities, researchers in the School of School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences have been working to understand the effective implementation of daily running programmes in schools. In addition to high quality papers, this work has resulted in an invited meeting with the Minister for Children and Families to advise on national policy surrounding running programmes in Schools in the UK. A one-day stakeholder symposium was held in 2016 to share collective knowledge about the implementation of running programmes. Delegates, amongst other, included Sport England, Department of Education and Public Health England. Publications and reports can be found here.