Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing Research

Physical Activity, Health and Wellbeing is a research strand of the Sport and Exercise Research Centre.

We undertake research that aims to identify and solve pertinent health challenges by improving our understanding and knowledge of the relationships between physical activity and health across the lifespan.

Current research

  • Examining associations between physical activity, mental health, and wellbeing during COVID-19
  • The effect of early exercise engagement on quality-of-life post-stroke
  • The effect of interrupting sitting time on vascular and cognitive health in various clinical populations

Strand leader

Prof. James Faulkner

Academic researchers

Dr John Batten

Dr Matthew Smith

Dr Hazel Brown

Key publications

Smith, M., Sharpe, B., Arumuham, A., & Birch, P. (2022). Examining the Predictors of Mental Ill Health in Esport Competitors. Healthcare, 10, 626.  (Read the press release about this study)

Faulkner, J., O'Brien, W.J., McGrane, B., Wadsworth, D., Batten, J., Askew, C.D., Badenhorst, C., Byrd, E., Coulter, M., Draper, N., Elliot, C., Fryer, S., Hamlin, M.J., Jakeman, J., Mackintosh, K.A., McNarry, M.A., Mitchelmore, A., Murphy, J., Ryan-Stewart, H., Saynor, Z., Schaumberg, M., Stone, K., Stoner, L., Stuart, B., & Lambrick, D. (2021). Physical activity, mental health and well-being of adults during initial COVID-19 containment strategies: A multi-country cross-sectional analysis. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

Gennings, E.K., Brown, H.J., & Hewlett, D. (2021). Constructing a definition: adolescent wellbeing from the perspective of the child and expert. International Journal of Wellbeing.

Taylor, R., Dibben, G., Faulkner, J., & Dalal, H. (2021). More evidence of cardiac rehabilitation: need to consider patient quality of life. Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

Wright, A., Stone, K., Martinelli, L., Fryer, S., Smith, G., Lambrick, D., Stoner, L., Jobson, S., & Faulkner, J. (2021). Effect of combined home-based, overground robotic-assisted gait training and usual physiotherapy on clinical functional outcomes in people with chronic stroke: a randomized controlled trial. Clinical Rehabilitation.


Our findings have been disseminated to other researchers and practitioners with an interest in understanding how physical activity may positively impact people after stroke. Additional impact work involves developing policy documents around promoting physical activity after the COVID-19 pandemic, and further developing support for patients after stroke and impacting health care provision.

HELP Hampshire Stroke Clinic

The HELP Hampshire Stroke Clinic (image top), led by Professor James Faulkner, is a community-based exercise and education programme that involves collaboration with Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Hobbs Rehabilitation. The programme has impacted upon the pathway of patient referrals from the NHS into community care, and since its inception in March 2019, the programme has worked with many stroke patients. Weekly exercise classes are delivered face-to-face and online, with improvements in participants health outcomes being tracked during the programme. Find out more about HELP Hampshire.

Press releases, e.g. University exercise expert aids in development of health and wellbeing resilience programme for older people.

Postgraduate research

PhD opportunities

  • Using physical activity to support patients following stroke
  • Understanding the experiences of stroke patients with regards to physical activity
  • Using physical activity to support individuals with long-COVID

Current research students

  • Ellie Gennings: The impact of outdoor physical activity on adolescent wellbeing: developing and validating a new measure of wellbeing
  • Nick Hudson: Effect of aerobic and resistance exercise training on health outcomes in people living with symptoms of long-COVID-19
  • Eloise Paine: The effect of robotics on energy expenditure in stroke patients
  • Amy Wright: Biomechanical effect of using the Alter-G Bionic Leg within Rehabilitation for patients with Stroke

Image top: A HELP Hampshire Stroke Clinic session