Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport

Team members

Sven Hoekstra

Research Associate

Sven started his PhD in October 2015. His project, under the supervision of Dr Christof Leicht and Dr Lettie Bishop, focusses on the inflammatory response to different strategies that are aimed to improve health in individuals restricted to engage in lower-body exercise (e.g. the elderly, or people with a spinal cord injury). Interventions that may serve as an alternative for cycling and running are arm-cranking and handcycling, but also passive heating by hot water immersion. Specifically, Sven has investigated potential factors that influence the acute inflammatory response to upper-body exercise and the potential of hot water immersion to improve the inflammatory and metabolic profile.

Qualifications

  • MSc Human Movement Sciences, University of Groningen, Groningen
  • BSc Health and Life Sciences, VU University, Amsterdam

Current research interests

Sven started his PhD in October 2015. His project, under the supervision of Dr Christof Leicht and Dr Lettie Bishop, focusses on the inflammatory response to different strategies to improve health in a population that has to rely on their upper-body for exercise, like individuals with a spinal cord injury for example. Among the possible strategies are arm-cranking and handcycling, but also hot water immersion. The created anti-inflammatory environment in response to these strategies could reduce the chronic low-grade inflammation related to the metabolic syndrome and other chronic diseases. Although there is considerable knowledge on the responses to leg-exercise such as cycling or running, little is known about upper-body exercise in that respect. Therefore, the challenge of this project is to pave the way for feasible, evidence-based strategies to improve health by use of upper-body exercise and/or heat treatment.

Previous research and experience

During his Master`s program in Groningen, Sven was involved in research within the HandbikeBattle-project. During the HandbikeBattle, participants of 10 rehabilitation centres in the Netherlands climb an Austrian col (±20km) in their handbike. Participants are mostly recreational athletes, of which some just finished their rehabilitation-phase. Within this project, Sven’s research focused on the improvements made in fitness and health as a result of the training program prior to the event. Furthermore, in a collaboration with the Dutch national cycling federation and the national handbike-coach, a training-monitoring study was conducted with the use of power meters and the session-RPE. Alongside that, he was a trainer of the handbike-team Groningen, which was one of the participating rehabilitation centres of the HandbikeBattle.

Selected recent keynote and conference presentations

  • Hoekstra S. P., Westerman M.N., Beke F., Bishop N. C., Leicht C. A. (2018). Limb-specific training adaptations and a reduced active muscle mass can attenuate the acute inflammatory response to interval exercise. Annual conference of the European College of Sport Science (ECSS). July, Dublin. (Oral) 
  • Hoekstra S. P., Westerman M.N., Beke F., Bishop N. C., Leicht C. A. (2018). Limb-specific training adaptations and a reduced active muscle mass can attenuate the acute inflammatory response to interval exercise. East-Midlands Flow cytometry meeting (M5). March, Birmingham. (Poster, awarded with the prize for “best poster”). 
  • Hoekstra S.P., Kamijo Y., Kinoshita T, Stephenson B.T., Leicht C.A., Goosey-Tolfrey V.L., Bishop N.C. & Tajima F. (2017). Catecholamines, but not sit-up tilt, are predictive of the inflammatory response to a wheelchair half-marathon. BASES-FEPSAC Conference. November, Nottingham. (Oral) 
  • Hoekstra S.P., Bishop N.C., Faulkner S.H. & Leicht C.A. (2017). Elevated core temperature; not only useful in the context of exercise to combat low-grade inflammation? International Society of Exercise and Immunology (ISEI) Conference. July, Coimbra. (Oral) 
  • Hoekstra S.P., Bishop N.C. & Leicht C.A. (2017). Can intervals enhance the inflammatory response and enjoyment in upper-body exercise? International Society of Exercise and Immunology (ISEI) Conference. July, Coimbra. (Poster)
  • Hoekstra, S.P., Valent, L.J.M., Gobets, D., Van der Woude, L.H.V. and De Groot, S. (2015). The effects of 4 months handbike training under free-living conditions on physical fitness and health outcomes. Science & Cycling conference, Utrecht, Holland.
  • Hoekstra, S.P., Valent, L.J.M., Janssen, T.W., Paulich, M., Van der Woude, L.H.V. and De Groot, S. (2015) Transferability of results on physiological outcomes between three arm ergometers. Vista conference, Girona, Spain. 

Invited presentations: 

  • Hoekstra S. P., Bishop N. C., Leicht C. A. (2018). The immune response to exercise in Paralympic athletes and sedentary individuals with disability. Annual conference of the Society for Human Movement Sciences (VVBN). April, Utrecht. (Oral, in Dutch) 
  • Hoekstra S.P., Kamijo Y., Kinoshita T, Stephenson B.T., Leicht C.A., Goosey-Tolfrey V.L., Bishop N.C. & Tajima F. (2018). The acute inflammatory response to a wheelchair half-marathon in people with a spinal cord injury – the role of autonomic function. Kyoten annual symposium. February, Wakayama (Oral) 

Selected recent publications

  • Hoekstra, S. P., Bishop N. C., Faulkner S.H., Bailey S.J., & Leicht C. A. (2018). The acute and chronic effects of hot water immersion on inflammation and metabolism in sedentary overweight males. Journal of Applied Physiology (In press)
  • De Groot S.P., Hoekstra S. P., Comtesse P. G. P., Kouwijzer I., & Valent L. J. (2018). Relationship Between Internal and External Handcycle Training Load in People with Spinal Cord Injury Training for the Handbikebattle. Journal of rehabilitation medicine50(3), 261-268.
  • Hoekstra S. P., Bishop N. C., & Leicht C. A. (2017). Can intervals enhance the inflammatory response and enjoyment in upper-body exercise?. European journal of applied physiology117(6), 1155-1163.
  • Hoekstra S.P., Valent L., Gobets D., Van der Woude L., & de Groot S. (2017). Effects of four-month handbike training under free-living conditions on physical fitness and health in wheelchair users. Disability and rehabilitation39(16), 1581-1588.