The National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine will be hosting a series of online lifestyle education sessions in June and July in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These sessions are aimed at GPs and other healthcare professionals but are open to anyone with an interest in the topics.

The four online evening sessions will look at a range of lifestyle factors and how they can influence an individual's response to COVID-19.

Sessions will take place via Zoom and are free to attend. They will begin at 6pm and last for approximately two hours, with the exception of the first introductory session which will last an hour. To book your place please email Alison Stanley a.stanley@lboro.ac.uk saying which session(s) you would like to attend. You will be sent a link to access the online session the day before the event. All sessions will be recorded and uploaded to the website after the event.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Series introduction

Dr James King

Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, Loughborough University

Dr James King is a Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology within the School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences at Loughborough University. His research investigates the role of lifestyle (exercise and diet) in the development and management of obesity and related diseases, particularly type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Dr James King will provide a brief introduction to the series including background, aims and objectives.

Introduction to the immune system

Dr Martin Lindley

Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, Loughborough University

Dr Lindley works at the interface of exercise metabolism, chemical biology and clinical medicine. His research has explored the mechanism of action of Omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (fish oil), with a focus on inflammation and oxidative stress, cellular incorporation, genetic regulation, epigenetic change, protein expression and biomarker identification.

Dr Martin Lindley's lecture will be an introduction to the immune system, its basic structure and function with specific reference to the current pandemic. The brief talk should be a gateway session to the series of talks over the following weeks.

Following the session on 23 June you can now view Dr King and Dr Lindley's talks on the video to the right

Key publications

Calder, P.C.; Carr, A.C.; Gombart, A.F.; Eggersdorfer, M. Optimal Nutritional Status for a Well-Functioning Immune System Is an Important Factor to Protect against Viral Infections. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1181. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041181

Blanco-Melo et al., 2020, Cell181, 1036–1045 May 28, 202 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.04.026

Long, Q., Tang, X., Shi, Q. et al. Clinical and immunological assessment of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections. Nat Med (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-020-0965-6

Tuesday 30 June 2020

Exercise and immune function

Professor Lettie Bishop

Professor of Exercise Immunology, Loughborough University

Professor Lettie Bishop's research interests span the effects of exercise on immune cell function and infection risk in elite athletes to the impacts of exercise on immunity, inflammation and infection in the general population and those with specific long-term conditions. Lettie retains her interest in performance sport and collaborates with the English Institute of Sport on joint funded projects aiming to maximise performance health.

Professor Lettie Bishop’s talk will focus on how a person’s exercise and physical activity habits can impact on tolerance to respiratory infection and how this is related in part to the impact of exercise on immune function. She will begin by looking at the evidence suggesting that moderate amounts of regular physical activity can enhance tolerance to respiratory infections and then move on to discuss how regular exercise can have positive effects on immune function, with a focus on anti-viral immune defence. There will also be a cautionary note on how exercising too hard, too soon and too often can do more harm than good to the immune system. Prof Bishop will also discuss the implications of the relationship between exercise, immune function and respiratory infection for vulnerable groups and the general population in the current pandemic.

Diet and immune function

Dr Tom Clifford

Lecturer in Physiology and Nutrition, Loughborough University

Dr Tom Clifford has a wide range of research interests, including how nutrition can expedite recovery following exercise in younger and older adults, the effect of nutritional supplements on bioavailability, immune responses and gut health during and after exercise and the health and wellbeing of elite soccer players.

Dr Tom Clifford’s talk will focus on the interactions between diet and immune function. He will begin by discussing the importance of a balanced diet for a well-functioning immune system. He will then highlight the key roles of macro and micronutrients in the immune system and finish off with recommendations for how nutrient intake can be manipulated to optimise immune defence.

Exercise and immune function in cancer patients

Dr Mhairi Morris

Lecturer in Biochemistry, Loughborough University

Dr Mhairi Morris' current research interests span two broad areas that centre around the tumour microenvironment (TME): on the one hand, how certain tumour viruses can modify stromal cells in the local area to promote tumour growth, and on the other, how exercise can alter the interplay between cancer cells and stromal cells in the TME.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that physical activity and exercise play a key role in reducing cancer risk and helping to improve patient outcomes, but there is emerging evidence that exercise tolerance is impaired following coronavirus infection. This presentation will focus on the importance of exercise for immune function in cancer patients: not only how this can reduce secondary cancer risk, but also how it could help prevent viral infections, including coronavirus. It will also cover the current recommendations for exercise in cancer patients, as well as some of the outline recommendations for return-to-exercise post-coronavirus infection.

Following the session on 30 June you can now view all presentations from the evening on the video to the right. Specific speakers can be found at the following times:
Prof Lettie Bishop - Exercise and immune function (view at 3 mins 10 secs)
Dr Tom Clifford - Diet and immune function (view at 32 mins 26 secs)
Dr Mhairi Morris - Exercise and immune function in cancer patients (view at 1 hr 1 min 44 secs)

Key publications

The Experts in Sport podcast on exercise, immune defence and illness in elite athletes mentioned by Professor Lettie Bishop can be found on the Loughborough University website

Key papers referred to by Dr Tom Clifford can be found below:
Gombart, A.F.; Pierre, A.; Maggini, S. A Review of Micronutrients and the Immune System–Working in Harmony to Reduce the Risk of Infection. Nutrients 2020, 12, 236.
https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010236

Calder, P.C.; Carr, A.C.; Gombart, A.F.; Eggersdorfer, M. Optimal Nutritional Status for a Well-Functioning Immune System Is an Important Factor to Protect against Viral Infections. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1181.
https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041181

Links to the Moving Medicine and American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) websites referred to by Dr Mhairi Morris are below:
Moving Medicine - https://movingmedicine.ac.uk/
American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) - www.acsm.org/

Tuesday 07 July 2020

COVID-19 and obesity

Exercise and weight management

Dr James King

Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology, Loughborough University

Dr James King is a Senior Lecturer in Exercise Physiology within the School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences at Loughborough University. His research investigates the role of lifestyle (exercise and diet) in the development and management of obesity and related diseases, particularly type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Dr King will deliver two talks in the session. In his first talk, he will discuss the most recent scientific evidence which has identified a link between obesity and COVID-19. On this backdrop, the merits of physical activity as a therapeutic tool for weight management will be discussed in his second talk.

Diet and weight management

Dr David Clayton

Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, Nottingham Trent University

Dr David Clayton's research is primarily focussed on the effects of nutritional intervention on metabolism, energy balance, appetite regulation and exercise performance. In particular, he is studying the effects of contemporary methods of energy restriction, such as breakfast omission and intermittent fasting. His research aims to determine the effect of these dietary interventions on long-term health and wellbeing, as well as exercise performance.

Dr Clayton’s talk will focus on different dietary approaches to weight management. He will begin by outlining the latest research findings on weight loss diets, before delving into more detail on some of the most popular methods of dieting, including traditional calorie restriction diets, intermittent fasting and low-carbohydrate diets. Dr Clayton will summarise with some key considerations for achieving weight loss via diet alteration.

Tuesday 14 July 2020

Physical function in vulnerable adults: considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic

Professor David Broom

Professor of Physical Activity, Exercise and Health, Coventry University

Professor David Broom has a broad interest in the benefits of physical activity on health having worked in health promotion before becoming an academic. His research has examined the benefits of physical activity on numerous health and fitness outcomes as well as the negative consequences of physical inactivity and increased sedentary behaviour. He is undertaking work to explore optimal exercise interventions to improve functional capacity in older adults. David is Chair of BASES Physical Activity Division and was a member of the Chief Medical Officers' expert working group who updated the physical activity guidelines published in 2019.

The imposed government isolation means that many individuals will reduce their overall daily physical activity and increase their sedentary behaviour (sitting time). Even healthy and fit individuals will experience 'reversibility' but this is more concerning in vulnerable adults. This talk will explore the principal of reversibility and the associated physiological and health changes and thereafter provide simple messages and interventions to help prevent it.

Mental health considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr Florence Kinnafick

Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Loughborough University

Dr Florence Kinnafick’s research employs both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to explore the social contextual and environmental determinants of physical activity behaviour change. She has investigated who and what is perceived as a source of support for behaviour change. This has included facilitating increased quality of motivation using mobile technology and also investigating the effect of exercise intensity and the physical environment on psychological well-being. She has worked with various population groups including school aged youth, employees and mental health service users.

The increasing prevalence of mental health problems is a growing global concern. It is already evident that the direct and indirect psychological effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are pervasive and could affect acute and chronic mental health. This presentation will explore mental health considerations during the pandemic and how physical activity can be used as a tool to help protect and improve mental health.

Book your place

To book your place, or if you have any questions about these sessions please email Alison Stanley: a.stanley@lboro.ac.uk

Please let us know which session(s) you would like to attend. You will be emailed a link and details of how to join the Zoom session the day before the event.