Through our research we aim to develop more sophisticated measurement methodologies/technologies to advance our understanding of the interplay between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and health.
In addition to understanding the behavioural context, we also strive to quantify the factors that influence the physiological response to these behaviours; with a focus on metabolism, skeletal muscle, bone, and mental health. We also use technologies to help and motivate people to be healthier.
Our internationally renowned team of experts are employing cutting-edge, innovative methods to understand how technology can be used to increase physical activity and reduce time sedentary in the population. We are at the forefront of shaping how best to use these technologies within national health policy and practice.
We boast further expertise in biomechanics – specifically motion capture and movement analysis, simulation of muscle contraction, and techniques used to assess neuromuscular function such as electromyography and muscle stimulation. We are also using technology to drive forward the development of tissue regeneration.
Our academic staff are happy to discuss research collaboration, as well as research studentships and self-funded PhDs. To find out more about academics working in this research area, please click on the 'People' tab below.
Current research and enterprise projects include:
- Device-measured physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep
- Wearables and nearables sensors development and validation
- Health and fitness apps (development, evaluation and validation)
- Digital Health (e.g. mHealth, eHealth, uHealth, telehealth)
- Insurtech (i.e. projects with a health and fitness focus)
- Physiological sensing (vital signs sensing e.g. ECG, heart rate (electrical, optical, ballistocardiography), sleep architecture, hearing, stress, blood pressure, breathing rate/depth, EMG, CGM, etc)
- Context/location sensing (indoor/outdoor sensing via GPS, RTLS, Bluetooth beacons, etc).
Examples of grant funding won by our talented scientists include:
- Snacktivity to promote physical activity and reduce future risk of disease in the population – An alternative whole day approach to physical activity that could engage and motivate the public to be more physically active is a concept we have called snacktivity. NIHR Programme Grant (Daley, Esliger, Sherar) £2,212,005.
- Wearable and nearable digital health technology for soldier training musculoskeletal injury prevention – This work contributes directly to the development of a systems map of potential correlates that may initiate musculoskeletal injury in military personnel. Ministry of Defence, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Esliger, Sanderson, Brooke-Wavell) £99,853.
- SMArT WORK: Stand More At Work – Changing sitting time by providing an environment that makes sitting less likely and standing/moving easier could have significant health benefits. This randomised controlled trial evaluates the effectiveness of providing inexpensive workstations that allow workers to stand, as well as sit, while working on a computer depending on their preference. Department of Health PRP Initiative on Physical Activity (Biddle, Munir, Esliger) £598,885.
- Sedentary behaviour in older adults: Investigating a New Therapeutic Paradigm – This grant focuses on investigating the impact of sitting in older adults. This research will inform larger studies and public health initiatives aimed at reducing sitting time in the future. MRC Lifelong Health and Wellbeing (Esliger, Biddle) £853,099.
- Non-invasive health and movement sensors – Wearable technology to monitor the time you spend being sedentary could encourage changes in behaviour that helps improve health. However, our research into the growing number of devices which allow individuals to self-monitor their physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour (sitting behaviour), has found that the latter is under-represented in the wearable tech market. EPSRC Small Equipment Grant (Esliger, Sherar, King) £48,000. This funding was part of a larger institutional award.
Here are some examples of where our research has had an impact:
- International Children’s Accelerometry Database (ICAD) – Professor Lauren Sherar was instrumental in developing this very large and scientifically valuable database. Dr Esliger consults on the software-based data analytics. To date, well over 30 publications have used ICAD and that number is rising fast.
- CareLight – Loughborough University is developing an ultra-lightweight, wearable sensor to offer reliable, continuous monitoring of vital signs including heart rate, respiration rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure, temperature and oxygenation levels. Dr Esliger is part of the Enterprise Project Group of funded scientists working on this technology.
- Training the Clinical Exercise Physiologists of the future – Loughborough University is home to the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM). As part of the London 2012 Olympic Legacy, Sport, Exercise and Health Scientists there have championed the notion that Exercise is Medicine having collectively contributed to the global scientific evidence base. Loughborough's Clinical Exercise Physiology MSc programme, affiliated with the NCSEM, will help train a new cadre of clinical exercise physiologists that will work with patients, participants, and clients to help the NHS cope with lifestyle-related chronic diseases.
- Nissan Excitement Index – Loughborough University sport scientists (Esliger, Sanders, Loveday) use wearable sensor technologies to tackle the question of what gets football fans excited. The Index aims to explore and understand the science behind football fans’ excitement by analysing data gathered through physiological reactions of football fans watching UEFA Champions League matches.
If you would like to collaborate with our researchers, engage in consultancy or discuss potential PhD projects, please contact them using the information on their staff profile.
Our academic staff
- Dr Dale Esliger – Enhancing the accelerometric profiling of physical activity, through the development of sophisticated physical activity measurement methodologies and technologies, to advance our understanding of the interplay between physical activity, sedentary behavior, and health.
- Dr Andrew Capel – Investigating the role of exercise on injury, disease and regeneration within bioengineered musculoskeletal tissues.
- Professor Eef Hogervorst – Early diagnoses and lifestyle changes including activity supported by design for dementia.
- Dr Andrew Kingsnorth – Understanding the link between movement behaviours and health by using sensor data from wearable devices.
- Professor Mark Lewis – The design and development of in vitro systems for regenerative medicine, such as cell transplantation and tissue engineering; muscle cellular and molecular physiology.
- Dr James Sanders – The accuracy and reliability of mobile health technologies; and the design and implementation of digital health behaviour change interventions in inactive adults.
- Dr Marco Santopietro – Supporting the development of a simpler technology solution for breathing pattern assessment.
- Professor Lauren Sherar – Understanding and intervening on physical activity and sedentary behaviour to improve physical and mental health.
- Dr Sam Winter – Health and performance applications of biomechanical analyses, particularly breathing mechanics and physical performance in older age.
Current PhD projects
Our doctoral researchers (PhDs)
- Nayani Adhikari – Diagnosis and Retraining of Asthmatic and Dysfunctional Breathing Techniques using Opto-Electronic Plethysmography.
- Alaa Alqurafi – The effect of a cognitive dual task using virtual reality training on the balance performance of older adults at high risk of fall.
- Reem Alrashidi – Investigating and building up health and fitness database for adult female athletes in the state of Kuwait.
- Ahmet Begde – The effects of a home-based dual-task intervention on walking and eye scanning while performing activities of daily living in patients with dementia.
- Kerry Chaplin – Hybrid 3D printed and tissue engineered bioreactors – applications to the neuromuscular system.
- Jen Ferris – Statistical models of lower limb soft tissue for integration in multimodal imaging technologies.
- Elliott Fullerton – The use of wearable technologies to examine the effect of training on bone health.
- James Hewitt – Exploring the relationship between health & wellbeing interventions, & cognitive performance.
- Zongchen Hou – Unplanned single-leg landings kinematics, kinetics, EMG and cognitive function changes in the CAI patients: a prospective cohort study.
- Manisha Jain – Improving health in older people with cognitive impairment through technology at home.
- Jessica Judd –
- Pablo Marco Garrido – Development of high-throughput bioengineered platforms for real-time assessment of musculoskeletal rehabilitation.
- Maria Mendoza Hidalgo – Development of 3D cell culture models of the human mechanosensory-motor feedback loop of neuromuscular proprioception.
- Kganetso Sekome – Implementation of a contextualized physical activity and diet intervention for the control of hypertension in adults from a rural sub-district in South Africa.
To find out more about PhD opportunities in the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences, visit our Postgraduate research webpages.
Experts in Sport podcast: The power of performance analysis
Host Martin Foster is joined by performance analysis (PA) expert Mike Hughes and Donald Barron, Applied Performance Analysis Lead at Loughborough University, to delve a little deeper into the subject and discover how performance analysis has grown immensely in sport with data now playing a key role in influencing decisions both on and off the field of play.