The Biomechanics research team conducts research into the mechanics of human movement. This includes coordination, mechanical energy expenditure and the development of more sophisticated computer models of the human body.
Biomechanics is applied to:
- understanding mechanisms of movement (establishing cause and effect);
- assessment of movement (describing required biomechanical parameters) and
- improving performance (eg maximising power output or minimising energy expenditure for the optimising athletic performance or facilitating rehabilitation and reducing injury).
Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation
The primary focus of the Clinical Exercise and Rehabilitation team is exercise testing and exercise therapy for clinical populations who manifest an underlying disease or disability.
The research activities of this group are diverse. They include:
- the inter-relationships amongst physical disability, exercise capacity and degree of handicap in cardiac and neurologic populations and
- exercise training and functional rehabilitation utilising assistive technologies.
The team is an international centre for functional electrical stimulation (FES) leg exercise and gait training in sub-acute and chronic spinal cord-injured patients.
Exercise Physiology and Nutrition
The Exercise Physiology and Nutrition team focuses on the acute responses and adaptations to stressful stimuli (typically exercise) that challenge homeostatic regulatory control mechanisms in humans.
Research may range across the spectrum from exercise training studies of elite athletes to those individuals with limited exercise capacity as a consequence of sedentary lifestyle, chronic disease and physical disability.
The team has a particular research interest in exercise metabolism, heat stress, limiting factors to prolonged exercise performance, ergogenic aids and sports performance, muscle damage, fatigue and nutrition.
Exercise for Health Promotion, Disease Prevention and Treatment
The focus of the Exercise for Health Promotion, Disease Prevention and Treatment team is the integration of exercise physiology and applied clinical exercise science to health promotion, disease prevention and treatment throughout the lifespan.
The areas of particular emphasis include:
- the effects of physical activity on body composition during childhood maturation and old age;
- optimisation of metabolic and physical fitness throughout the lifespan;
- prevention of cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, osteoporosis, falls and frailty and
- treatment of specific health problems with exercise, including arthritis, depression, insulin resistance and diabetes, stroke, obesity, osteoporotic fracture, mobility impairment, cardiovascular disease, disability, and other chronic conditions.
Motor Behaviour Research Group
Researchers on the Motor Behaviour team employ a variety of approaches to study the organisation and control of movement:
- The biomechanical approach is directed at the physical basis of movement and the mechanical factors that govern it.
- The neurophysiological approach is directed at the neuromuscular machinery and the functional neural connections that govern movement.
- The behavioural approach is directed at the level of the structures and processes of skilled movement, without considering their physical basis.
Sleep Research explores how diet, exercise and the circadian timing of sleep and waking may influence health. The Sleep Research team explore solutions that will promote sleep health and improve the sleep time and quality of individuals with sleep difficulty, anxiety or those with disrupted sleep-wake rhythms such as the shift worker.