Cheryl Barford

Senior Lecturer in Sports Therapy

Cheryl Barford

I have been involved in the health and fitness industry for 30 years. Originally inspired by a passion for enhancing health through physical activity and understanding the underpinning theoretical principles. I remain active in the industry setting and continue to teach group exercise classes as well as assist clients with exercise advice to improve physical health and well-being. I have had varied industry experience from working on cruise liners to land-based high-profile health clubs and local leisure centres.

I graduated with a BSc Sports Exercise Science and Dance (1996) from De Montfort University Bedford and MSc Health and Exercise Science (2004) from the University of Luton. During these times I worked with London Central YMCA teaching and assessing on health and fitness industry qualifications and with Further Education colleges (Central Beds) assisting the development of their Foundation Degree courses. I, therefore, understand the challenge to balance work with study.

I joined the University of Bedfordshire teaching team in 2005, becoming a permanent team member in 2011 in Sports Therapy. My current focus is on inspiring students to succeed through teaching, learning and research.

My PhD research focused on torso muscle onset in response to a slip perturbation in younger, older and trained (Pilates) participants. After being awarded the PhD in October 2021, I am now focussed on the publication of the research.


  • PhD Muscle Function and Physiology – University of Bedfordshire, Torso Muscle Onset in Response to Lower body perturbations)
  • MSc Health and Exercise Science - University of Luton
  • BSc (Hons) Sport Exercise Science and Dance - De Montfort University
  • Bedford Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PgCAP)
  • BASES professional Member

Teaching Role

I am responsible for coordinating and teaching on the following units:

  • Reading and Interpreting Research, Gym Instruction (Level 4)
  • Physiology for Training and Planning and Conducting Research (Level 5)
  • Clinical Exercise (Level 6)
  • Additionally I offer project supervision in BSc dissertation projects

Research Interests

Efficacy of group exercise classes to enhance health or prevent chronic negative health issues Obesity, physical activity (dose response), clinical populations and exercise/activity, rehabilitation Use of Ultrasound within musculoskeletal investigations Use of music in exercise and training

Specific research includes: Relationship between obligatory running disorder, physical activity and likelihood of developing osteoporosis (Female athlete triad). Post-graduate research investigation of excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) and fat utilisation after resistance exercise (Body Pump).

Recent Research Projects

  • I enrolled on my PhD in January 2012. Title "Investigating Transversus Abdominis Muscle Activation: Developing a Test to Quantify Onset of Trunk Muscle Recruitment in Asymptomatic Populations During Functional Tasks"
  • I have collected PhD study 1 and 2 data for the assessment of reliability of rehabilitative ultrasound to record and measure Transversus Abdominis muscle activation in participants adopting functional positions

Recent Conference Presentations

Poster presentations at:

  • University of West Scotland student Conference
  • University of Bedfordshire Conference
  • Physiological Society Conference

Service to the Academic/Professional Community

  • Continual professional development on going to fulfil requirements within health and fitness through regular conference and workshop attendance (CIMSPA member and BASES)
  • Fellow of the HEA Continuing development of professionalism among Sports Therapy students through student handbook preparation and teaching and learning strategies
  • Assisting with CIMSPA accreditation for Gym Instructor, Group Exercise and Long term health conditions awards
  • Managing administration to allow students to obtain CIMSPA qualifications

Contact Details

T: +44 (0)1234 400 400, Ext. 9126


School of Sport Science and Physical Activity
Faculty of Education, English and Sport
Bedford campus
Polhill Avenue
MK41 9EA