Exercise and physical activity have been shown to be beneficial for people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Being more active can help to reduce the risk of depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s in adults, and enhance psychological wellbeing by improving self-esteem and reducing anxiety levels.

At the other end of the spectrum, we are looking at the wellbeing of elite athletes who experience high levels of stress both in training and competing in their sport.

Our research in this area

Disordered eating in athletes

Disordered eating among athletes is much higher than in the general population. Around 20% of female athletes and 8% of male athletes present with clinically significant eating problems, compared to just 2% of the general population.

There are may possible causes including requirements to wear revealing sports attire, the perceived value of weight for performance and the attitude and behaviours of coaches.

We are looking at how and why athletes develop disordered eating and are developing new screening tools and resources to promote early intervention and prevention.

Dementia markers

This research looks at computerised systems to support dementia diagnostics to enable automated dementia assessments and monitoring of outcomes. It also explores the effects of lifestyle related interventions, such as nutrition and exercise, on dementia symptoms.

There are currently several funded projects in this area including investigating the development of activities for people with dementia, looking at mediating factors on why exercise improves memory in older people, and developing guidelines for dementia-related design for hospitals and care homes.

Promoting individual and organisational health through team sport participation

Team-based sports can have benefits for both employees and organisations, for example it may enhance a team’s commitment, cohesion and communication. Although there is clear evidence that team-based sports do take place in a number of organisations in the UK, very little is known about the potential benefits.

We will look at team-based workplace sports across a range of different organisations in the UK to identify and evaluate the benefits for both individuals and organisations, using a mixed methods approach incorporating surveys, focus groups and interviews to inform the development of an intervention.