Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Division of Sport and Exercise Sciences

Sport and Exercise Sciences is situated within the School of Social and Health Sciences

Our research contributes to the University research themes of Society and Environment.

We have two areas of complimentary research in the Division: Biomechanics and Physiology; and Social Science of Sport.  Our research in these two areas explores: women’s sport equity; sedentary lifestyle risk factors; exercise and health training interventions; high intensity exercise; elite sports performance and healthy ageing. Much of our research has a special emphasis on populations with protected characteristics (e.g. age, gender, and disability) in order to contribute to the duty of care in sport agenda, which has growing salience as an issue in contemporary society.  Our research contributes to the University’s Society and Environment research themes.


Biomechanics and Physiology

Our work in this area explores the physiology and biomechanics of sports and exercise, particularly in relation to performance and injury.  Research includes: the use of Omega-3 supplementation to improve joint stability and promote recovery from exercise; performance analysis of speed, flexibility and endurance capacity in elite footballers; the effect of high intensity interval training on physical health and mood in women; the effect of rapid weight loss on physical performance measures; the development of high intensity training exercise protocols to determine the minimum frequency of exercise required to promote meaningful adaptations in the body for health and performance; the use of neuromuscular electrical stimulation in a home-based setting for elderly populations; the impact of fatigue on lower limb kinetics; quantifying how different biomechanical factors influence sports performance; and exploring neurophysiology including motor control and disorders of movement.

Social Science of Sport

Our work in this area focuses on exploring the significance of sport to society and examines the psychology and sociology of sport.  Research includes: the duty of care in sport agenda; improving health and physical functioning and promoting engagement in physical activity among older adults; body image and social physique anxiety on adolescents’ psychosocial health; exercise adherence and mental health; cognitive and emotional processes in sport; how individual differences influence behaviour in sport, health, mental health and wellbeing; inequity, inequality and discrimination in sport and exercise subcultures; gender equity for sports coaches; interpersonal perceptions and factors that influence sports coaching and coach education;  youth sport; exploring how athletes narratively construct their identities.


We work closely with a range of stakeholders including Police Scotland, Active Schools, national governing bodies (e.g. SportScotland, Scottish Karate, Mountaineering Council for Scotland), sporting bodies (Scottish Rugby Union, Dundee United Football Club), charities (e.g. Age Concern and the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation) and SMEs (e.g. Edinburgh Biotech).

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Division Leader