Research and innovation

Research over the last 30 years has clearly demonstrated the benefits of regular physical activity to people’s health and wellbeing and in the management of many chronic diseases. However, there remains uncertainty in how to ensure that this very clear evidence is conveyed to the public and leads to a sustained behaviour change. Sport and exercise medicine (SEM) is developing academic programmes through its Faculty and the National Centres for Sport and Exercise Medicine to address this area. Demonstrating sustained behaviour change in carefully controlled study populations is of limited value if those changes are not demonstrable in clinical practice. The ability to work with colleagues across all chronic disease areas is essential if we are to succeed in achieving large-scale behavioural change and a more active and healthier population.

There are a range of research opportunities in sport and exercise medicine. Currently, Arthritis Research UK is funding a major study investigating the risk of developing osteoarthritis through sport together with strategies to prevent this from happening. The SEM MSc courses that take place each year in several universities around the country all encourage and support research. The English and Scottish Institutes of Sports also offer research opportunities, often in collaboration with university sports science departments.