Funded PhD Studentship: Investigating the Dose-Response Relationship between Exercise, Physical Activity and Lifelong Health

Swansea University - Sport and Exercise Science

*This scholarships is part funded by the Welsh Government’s European Social Fund (ESF) convergence programme for West Wales and the Valleys.*

A key objective of the recently developed Sporting Landscape by Sport Wales is to develop a framework for sustained participation in physical activity and exercise across the lifespan. Indeed, it is suggested that childhood health and behaviours, especially with regards to exercise and physical activity, may not only track into adulthood but may be significant determinants of adult health and physical activity and/or sporting engagement. However, the relationship between activity/exercise levels and health benefits during childhood, and, indeed, later in life during adulthood, remains to be elucidated. Central to understanding the relationship between these factors during childhood is a consideration of the influence of maturation, as acknowledged by Sport Wales through its drive for stage-, rather than age-, appropriate developmental strategies.

The athletes within this group also present a unique population who are paradoxically characterised by high-volume, high-intensity exercise and simultaneous high sedentary time for recovery. Given that sedentary behaviour is an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality, converse to the positive protective health effects of high-intensity exercise, the relative balance of these behaviours is pivotal for performance and long-term health.

The proposed studentship will therefore comprise of three studies designed to address these research questions as follows:

  • Study 1 will investigate the influence of biological maturation on exercise-induced health and performance benefits.
  • Study 2 will involve a mixed-methods investigation of the influence of recalled childhood sport and exercise participation on current adult health and sport/physical activity engagement.
  • Study 3 will focus on the unique population of elite athletes who are paradoxically characterised by high-volume, high-intensity exercise and highly sedentary recovery time.

Taken together, this research has wider relevance to information long-term athlete development models adopted by National Governing bodies, as well as the development of evidence-based policies surrounding optimal childhood physical activity and exercise levels to maximise lifelong health.

Scholarships are collaborative awards with external partners including SME’s and micro companies, as well as public and third sector organisations. The scholarship provides 3 years of funding with a 6 month period to complete the thesis. The achievement of a postgraduate skills development award, PSDA, is compulsory for each KESS II scholar and is based on a 60 credit award.


Academic requirements:

Candidates should have a 2.1 or above in their undergraduate degree Sport and Exercise Science or a related subject.

Residency criteria:

They should also be eligible for Home/UK Fees (see for more information).

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