Take 10 with... Rebecca Meiring

Dr Rebecca Meiring from the Department of Exercise Sciences gives us 10 minutes of her time to discuss her research into how much and to what extent people move or sit during their day and how that impacts on their health.

Dr Rebecca Meiring, Department of Exercise Sciences
Dr Rebecca Meiring, Department of Exercise Sciences

1.  Describe your research topic to us in 10 words or less.

Measuring physical activity and sedentary behaviours in patients with chronic lifestyle diseases.

2.  Now describe it in everyday terms!

I am interested in how much, why and to what extent people move or sit during the day and how that influences their risk of disease or their current chronic disease.

3.  What are some of the day-to-day research activities you carry out?

My research involves spending time reading current literature around my topic of interest and keeping abreast of technological advances in the monitoring of activity behaviours. I apply for grants and analyse large data sets of activity data. I also make sure I spend at least some time having a coffee with colleagues that I am collaborating with to discuss current projects and ideas for future work.

4.  What do you enjoy most about your research?

I love interacting with people who volunteer in my studies. I love how they take a genuine interest in what I do and feel that by knowing their activity behaviours, they can be empowered to manage their lifestyle behaviours. I also love data and spending time running stats and seeing what the data tell me about my population of interest.

5.  Tell us something that has surprised or amused you in the course of your research.

Getting people to move for their health is a very complex challenge! There are so many factors that need to be considered and some factors are so individual.

6.  How have you approached any challenges you’ve faced in your research?

Just take one day at a time and work in small chunks. Taking a step back and relooking at things in a different way can make the challenge seem less intimidating.

7.  What questions have emerged as a result?

We know that regular exercise has many benefits for one’s health. The biggest question in my research is how to get people to adhere to regular physical activity. Identifying the best strategies for different populations is how I would like to contribute to answering that question.

8.  What kind of impact do you hope your research will have?

Simply to help people incorporate as much exercise as possible in their daily lives to help them live healthier.

9.  If you collaborate across the faculty or University, or even outside the University, who do you work with and how does it benefit your research?

I am collaborating on a project in the Department with Associate Professor Lynley Bradnam on physical activity and sedentary behaviour in people living with dystonia.

My academic collaborations are with researchers in the Movement Physiology Research Laboratory at Wits University in Johannesburg, and Associate Professor Joanne McVeigh at Curtin University in Perth. I have a clinical collaboration with a Clinical Exercise Physiologist in Pukekohe.

My collaborators help me with expert knowledge, research experience and developing new ideas for more research.

10.   What one piece of advice would you give your younger, less experienced research self?

Develop a passion for what you research and surround yourself with people who will support your journey.