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.

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.

Habitual activity behaviours in people living with chronic conditions.

2.  Now describe it in everyday terms!

I am interested in how much, why and to what extent chronic conditions influence the amount of time people spend in physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Getting a better picture of these activity patterns allows researchers like me to develop more effective interventions that help people move more and sit less.

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

A lot of my research time is spent working with my postgraduate students discussing project set up and progression, data analysis or project results. I manage to fit in 30 minutes (each way!) of writing papers on my ferry commute into work and home.

4.  What do you enjoy most about your research?

The fact that I can help people. Students, research participants or colleagues. I love meeting the people who volunteer for the research studies I’m involved in. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with people and empowering them to manage their activity behaviours.

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 physical activity and exercise as possible in their daily lives to help them live better.

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 have been fortunate to make collaborations with wonderful people at the University of Auckland in the Department of Exercise Sciences, Auckland Bioengineering Institute, Department of Statistics as well as in the Business School.

My international academic collaborations are with researchers in the Movement Physiology Research Laboratory at Wits University in Johannesburg, and the Business School and the School of Rural Health at La Trobe University in Australia.

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?

Maintain focus and surround yourself with people who are genuinely interested in supporting you.