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ukactive Senior Researcher Matthew Wade writes from the ACSM Annual Meeting in Orlando

As our sectors prepares for ukactive’s flagship event, Active Uprising, on the 6th June, the ukactive Research Institute has ventured across the pond to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting and World Congress. This is the largest academic conference for exercise science with 10,000 academics from around the word expected across the five days.

This is the second time I have attended the ACSM Annual Meeting and had the privilege to present and discuss the research we have undertaken at ukactive. One of the great things about our work at the Research Institute is our position between the academic world and physical activity in practice, with the ability to work with an array of excellent partners from the ukactive membership.

Tomorrow (Friday 31st May) I will be presenting findings from the PhD research project that I have been undertaking at St Mary’s University over the past two and a half years. This research, using data from ukactive’s delivery of Let’s Get Moving Essex, compares the health improvements achieved through different pathways to this community-based motivational interviewing physical activity programme. Findings demonstrate the effectiveness of this intervention overall and the role of different pathways, advancing our understanding of how we can promote physical activity and mental wellbeing improvements through primary care.

Our presentations started yesterday (29th May) with the ukactive Research Institute’s Principle Investigator, Dr James Steele, delivering a session entitled ‘Understanding the Role of Effort, and the Perception of Effort, in Physical Activity and Exercise’. This was followed by Coventry University based ukactive PhD student Nikita Rowley who presented further data from the National Referral Database with a poster presentation entitled ‘Examining the effects of Exercise Referral Schemes on Changes in Physical Activity Levels’. Our week of will be rounded off tomorrow with another Coventry University based ukactive PhD student, Nadja Willinger, presenting her research entitled ‘Recommendations for the Implementation of Physical Activity Intervention Evaluations in Leisure Centres’, and James delivering a second presentation, ‘Training for Strength vs. Training for Sport Performance’. These varied presentations show the breadth of the work we are undertaking, but is only a selection of the great work undertaken across the ukactive Research Institute.

This week it has been fantastic to see some excellent global research that supports and provides evidence for ukactive’s core pillars: turning generation inactive into generation active, transforming working lives, and reimagining ageing. We will take the knowledge, learnings, and connections from this week through to advance across all of these pillars and more. The ukactive Research Institute is always seeking to engage with our members through research studies and PhD students to continually advance our knowledge and evidence base for physical activity interventions.

The ukactive Research Institute has presented various projects at the ACSM Annual Meeting over the years – it is where we first released our landmark study on children’s fitness levels over the summer holidays, which was really the starting point for our children’s activity agenda. This remains a key date in our diary and provides us with a great opportunity to ensure our sector is represented on the academic stage, and offers us the fresh insights that will shape physical activity research for the years to come.