News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Tackling the global challenge of physical inactivity

Tackling the global challenge of physical inactivity takes all disciplines

Do not underestimate the dangers of physical inactivity, warns University of Canterbury (UC) sports expert Professor Nick Draper, who has edited a new book to examine the causes of, and solutions to, physical inactivity.

Based at UC’s College of Education, Health and Human Development, Professor Draper brings experience as a physical education teacher, Olympic judo coach, Chair of Sport and Exercise Science New Zealand, and founding member of the International Rock Climbing Research Association to his role, which includes Programme Director for UC’s Master of Sport Science programme.

The book, Physical Activity: A Multi-disciplinary Introduction, brings together leading researchers of biochemistry, public health, biomechanics, physiology, sport psychology and sociology to tackle issues such as behaviour change, motor-skill development, nutrition and ‘green’ exercise prescriptions.

“The simple answer is: there is no simple answer,” Professor Draper says. “Physical activity is different for children, for adults, for older adults, for people who are obese, so the solutions have to be specific and people must enjoy the activity. We need innovative approaches to promotion and intervention tailored to every age range and environment.”

What is clear, he says, is that awareness of the health risks of physical inactivity (lack of physical activity) is growing.

The Lancet in 2012 published a series of watershed papers highlighting the risk factors for mortality associated physical inactivity. In response to results from a large cohort study in the United States, Steven Blair’s team coined the term ‘smokadiabesity’, after finding that physical inactivity was more of a risk to health than smoking, diabetes and obesity combined. There is more and more research about, and awareness of, the benefits of activity for physical and mental health,” Professor Draper says.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), physical inactivity is now identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. It is on the rise in many countries, with major implications for general health worldwide. Guidelines are for 30 minutes of activity five times a week for adults – this is the requirement.

“The challenge for researchers and those working in the sector is to understand each other’s disciplines and areas of expertise so we can create really effective multi-disciplinary solutions.”

While working in the United Kingdom on a project, Professor Draper says one of the most effective strategies was to get different floors of the local council talking to each other.

“Answers at the government and policy level must cross boundaries – there is no council solution for increasing activity without adequate roading, [cycleways and footpaths] for example.”

While the emphasis is on physical activity, mindset is a major component. As a PE teacher, Professor Draper was interested in the kids who didn’t like sport and what physical activity could look like for them. Coaching the British judo team to the Sydney Olympics, he learned that beyond training and natural ability, psychology is paramount to performance.

In another study Professor Draper led, mindset explained the difference between the performance of beginner and advanced rock climbers, where there were no discernible differences in physiological or psychological indicators. The beginners worried about the height they were at, while the expert climbers simply focused on their next move.

Such studies have relevance for the general population, he says. “Body and mind, you can’t separate them.”

Physical Activity: A Multi-disciplinary Introduction is the first multi-disciplinary book on the topic, with contributions from Professor Draper’s co-editor Gareth Stratton, Helen Marshall and Louise Sheppard from Ara Institute of Canterbury, Mike Hamlin from Lincoln University, UC Senior Lecturer Dr Jenny Clarke (motor-skill development), UC PhD alumni Angus Lindsay (biochemistry) and Brad H. Miles (psychology and physical activity), Dr Brad Harasymchuk and UC Senior Lecturer Dr Chris North (urban physical activity).

Read more and order the book here.

Professor Nick Draper is Professor of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. His teaching is in the area of exercise physiology and he is Programme Director for the Master of Sport Science programme. His research interests focus on psychophysiology in relation to rock climbing, rugby performance and physical activity. He is Chair of SESNZ, the national organisation for Sport and Exercise Science in New Zealand, and a founding member of the International Rock Climbing Research Association.


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>


Howard Davis: Benjamin Ree's The Painter and The Thief

The Norwegian filmmaker had long been fascinated by art thieves who commit high-stakes crimes with a delicate touch when a chance Google search in 2015 uncovered a botched heist in Oslo. More>>


Howard Davis: Anna Coddington Beams

Anna Coddington's thin, wispy vocals fit her songs beautifully, providing a wonderful lilting quality that pervades her latest album, producing instant ear worms. More>>


Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>


Howard Davis: The Phoenix Foundation Friend Ship Tour Docks in Wellington

A sense of local pride was certainly running high at the Opera House on Saturday night, as the lads ran through a tasty little set drawn mostly from their latest album Friend Ship (splash out for Xmas on the shocking pink extra-thick vinyl edition). More>>


Howard Davis: Avantdale Bowling Club

Auckland rapper and MC Tom Scott brought his stunning jazz-infused Taite Music Prize-winning project Avantdale Bowling Club to the Opera House headlining Wellington's 2020 Jazz Festival. More>>

Howard Davis: Troy Kingi Rules The San Fran

The award-winning Northland musician performed songs from his new record The Ghost of Freddie Cesar, the fourth installment in his 10/10/10 series - ten albums in ten years in ten genres. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland