Academics and guests discuss ‘Improvement Through Movement’

Wed 22 September, 2021
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The University of Bedfordshire is hosting its sixth annual ISPAR conference based around the theme of ‘Improvement Through Movement: Performance, health and wellbeing across the lifespan’.

The three-day conference is running this week with recordings available to playback on YouTube. The event will highlight the impactful research that ISPAR (Institute of Sport and Physical Activity) staff, postgraduate students and collaborators are conducting.

The event will feature three world leading keynote speakers, and welcome back three former graduates featured as ISPAR Alumni keynote speakers.

The Centre for Health, Wellbeing and Behaviour Change, led by Professor Angel Chater, will open the conference with a focus on ‘Moving medicine for the benefit of physical health and psychological wellbeing’.

Professor Chater, Director of ISPAR, said: “We hope the research conducted by ISPAR and Junior-ISPAR members, showcased by this three-day conference will inspire various ways to reach improvement through movement, irrespective of health condition or personal characteristics, such as age, ethnicity or gender.

“We have a fantastic team of staff, postgraduate research students and post-docs, who are engaging in impactful real-world research, and we are excited to share this with a range of stakeholders and interested parties, including our local community. We encourage people to get in touch with us during and after the conference, with a view to exploring new and continuing research opportunities and collaborations.”

ISPAR poster

Dr Stacy Clemes – a guest speaker from Loughborough University – will be sharing her expertise on the development and evaluation of interventions to promote healthy behaviours across the course of life. In addition, the Centre for Health, Wellbeing and Behaviour Change will feature research using behavioural science in areas such as obesity, diabetes, psychological wellbeing and bereavement, alongside their REF-submitted Impact Case Study on ‘Changing sedentary behaviour, inactivity, health and wellbeing through influencing policy, training and practice’.

The Centre for Physical Education, Sport and Human Movement, led by Dr Joanne Hill, will host the second part of the conference, focussing on building practice for equity and inclusion within and beyond physical education and health, physical activity, and sport. She will be joined by external speakers Albert Adeyemi, Janelle Meisenheimer and Michelle Flemons, who all lead in dissemination and discussion of teaching and coaching practice that supports the nurturing of all learners. Other discussion points also include black and ethnic minority academy players’ experiences beyond football, girls’ participation in sport and physical activity, empowerment of young athletes, physical activity at home during Covid-19 and teachers’ reflections on gender, sexualities and relationships within primary school.

Dr Hill, Senior Lecturer in Physical Education and Sport Sociology, said: “We will bring together an international panel of practitioners, researchers, and students with a shared interest in social justice and sociocultural analysis. We hope that the session will provide insight on educational institutions, teaching, coaching, physical activity (dis)engagement and learning.”

The Centre for Physical Activity and Sports Performance, co-led by Dr Rebecca Jones and Dr Jeffery Aldous, will host the . Experts in the field will discuss a variety of aspects to optimise human performance, including metabolic syndrome in firefighters, and cooling modalities in endurance and team sports undertaken in the heat.

Dr Jones said: “Part three of the IPSAR conference will focus on how environmental factors affect performance and how performance adapts across the lifespan. We have research examining the impact of heat and cooling strategies, as well as the result of training and ageing on performance based outcomes.

“The day will begin with guest speaker, Dr Ruth James, who will be discussing her research and how this contributed to the development of a variety of specialist areas – including exercising in the heat, hydration, hunger, high performance and health.”

ISPAR cardiology focused researchers will discuss cardiac structure and function in resistance-trained athletes, while bio-mechanists and strength and conditioning teams will focus on postural stability, cognitive function and muscle function. The final day of the conference will conclude with the ISPAR second REF-submitted Impact Case Study on ‘Enhancing golf performance through biomechanical analysis’ presented by ISPAR PhD graduate alumni, Jack Wells.

Dr Martyn Morris, Head of School of Sport Science and Physical Activity (SSPA) and Deputy Director of ISPAR is excited to be part of the 2021 event: “The ISPAR conference really is a fantastic event for everyone in SSPA to really showcase and celebrate their research work that goes on across our research institutes. It is a great opportunity for our students in both postgraduate and undergraduate portfolios to engage with the research community and encourage the next generation of researchers coming through.  As we welcome guest speakers and visitors to the conference it also offers a great platform for discussions, collaborations and potential future research pathways to be explored.”

The whole conference will be live streamed to the University of Bedfordshire’s YouTube Channel for those who wish to watch live or catch up later.  The event can also be followed on Twitter with the #ISPARconf hashtag.

Further information about PhD opportunities with ISPAR and current research projects can be found on the research institutes website:


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