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Physical Activity and Health


Our work in this vital aspect of human health specifically covers research into physical activity as a non-medical intervention applied throughout the lifespan.

Quality of life and movement potential are enhanced through promotion, prevention, treatment/intervention, habilitation, and rehabilitation.

CHARR researchers work with a number of colleagues from around the University and have hosted three Physical Activity and Health Colloquium (2012, 2014, 2015).

CHARR is involved in leading a network of University researchers and community partners in the area of physical activity, health, and wellbeing.

Research highlight:  Diabetes community exercise programme (DCEP)

DCEP group thumbnailThe Diabetes Community Exercise Programme (DCEP) is an inter-professional, coordinated, patient-centred, whānau-supported package of care specifically developed to target Māori and Pacific people and those living in low socioeconomic areas. This RCT trial is funded by a Health Research Council project grant.

Check out our dedicated website and video telling you all about the research

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Current research projects

Umove wiiCurrent projects include:


Recent publications

  • Mulligan, H., Armstrong, A., Francis, R., Hitchcock, H., Hughes, E., Thompson, J., Wilkinson, A., & Hale, L. (2018). Engagement in exercise for people with Parkinson's: What is meaningful? New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, 46(1), 19-28. doi: 10.15619/NZJP/46.1.04
  • Liu, L., Petrich, S., McLaren, B., Kelly, L., & Baxter, G. D. (2018). An integrative Tai Chi program for patients with breast cancer undergoing cancer therapy: Study protocol for a randomized controlled feasibility study. Journal of Integrative Medicine. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2017.12.011 [Protocol/Methodology].
  • Vlietstra, L., Hendrickx, W., & Waters, D. L. (2018). Exercise interventions in healthy older adults with sarcopenia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Australasian Journal on Ageing. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1111/ajag.12521 [Review].
  • Key Physical Activity and Health publications

    A complete list of Physical Activity and Health publications

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    Year Project title Funder
    2017 Community exercise for long-term management of diabetes and multimorbidity HRC project, Health Delivery Stream
    2017 Acceptability for the treadmill 6 minute walk test for pacific peoples HRC Pacific Summer Studentship
    2017 A pedometer based walking programme for people with stroke: a feasibility study Physiotherapy Neuro Special Interest Group
    2017 Physical activity and stroke OMRF, Summer studentship
    2017 Personalised physical activity and motivational text messaging in patients with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). School of Physiotherapy Trust
    2016 Walking to better health after stroke UORG
    2016 Does exercise using the Wii Fit™ Balance Board increase muscle strength and decrease instability in individuals with knee osteoarthritis: A feasibility study? MPPT
    2016 Developing an intervention to promote physical activity engagement for people with multiple sclerosis living in rural settings: a feasibility study MPPT
    2015 Longitudinal investigation of sedentary behaviour patterns and its predictors among New Zealanders with high risk of developing chronic diseases. Lottery Health Research
    2014 Dunedin Community Exercise Programme WellSouth
    2014 The Influence of Relative BMI on Energy Expenditure during Brisk Walking Physiotherapy New Zealand
    2014 Development of a strategic framework to enable support persons to facilitate male stroke survivors to engage in physical activity Physiotherapy New Zealand
    2014 Development of a strategic framework to enable support persons to facilitate male stroke survivors to engage in physical activity Canterbury Trust
    2014 Early detection of hip/knee osteoarthritis to improve physical activity and self-efficacy Jack Thomson Arthritis Fund
    2014 Physical activity and quality of life in persons with dysvascular and traumatic below-knee amputation NZALS
    2014 Sedentary behaviour and its associations with psychosocial factors in individuals with high risk of developing type-2 diabetes mellitus. UORG
    2013 Effects of aerobic training on menstrual pain in women with primary dysmenorrhea: A randomized controlled trial Physiotherapy New Zealand
    2013 Are Mobile Methods a feasible way to ask people with chronic conditions about dog-walking and health? UORG
    2013 Evaluation of a walking programme for people with rheumatoid arthritis MPPT
    2013 Participation of children with physical disability  in leisure activities in New Zealand PNZ Paediatric Special Interest Group
    2012 Wilson Home Trust
    2012 Back 2 Activity Trial UORG
    2012 The Otago back pain and lifestyle study Otago Branch PNZ
    2011 How does fatigue influence community exercise participation in men with Multiple Sclerosis UORG
    2010 Accessibility to physically active recreation: Toward full inclusion of people with physical disability in the New Zealand context Burwood Academy of Independent Living
    2009 Blue Prescription: physiotherapy activity support package for chronic disability UORG
    2009 Mardi Cup posture study SPAARC

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    Graduate research

    PhD candidates

    Ally Calder

    Access to physical activity for men following stroke.
    Read more about Ally's work

    Renee Hamel

    Long-term impact of cardiovascular and respiratory deconditioning on physical activity intolerance in outpatient adults with moderate and severe traumatic brain injury.
    Read more about Renee's work

    Donald Manlapaz

    The use of Nintendo Wii Fit™ in improving falls risk, balance and adherence to exercise in patients with Knee Osteoarthritis.
    Read more about Donald's work

    Masters by Research candidates

    Claire Hargest

    A Fitbit™ based walking programme for people with stroke: a feasibility study.

    Emily Gray

    Physical activity following coronary artery bypass graft surgery: Participant’s understanding and experiences.

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    News and Events

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    National and international collaborators


    • Dr Paul Hendrick (University of Nottingham)
    • Professor Suzanne McDonough (University of Ulster)
    • Professor Stephan Milosavljevic (University of Saskatchewan)
    • Dr Lorna Paul (University of Glasgow)


    • MS and Parkinson’s Society of Canterbury Inc
    • Silver Fern Farms
    • Physiotherapy Clinics

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