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PAWB Centre - Physical Activity for Health and Wellbeing

Being physically active can prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases, and a variety of other chronic diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, bone and joint diseases, some cancers. Furthermore regular physical activity can improve brain function throughout a lifespan. Despite this knowledge, more than 20 million Britons, including one million adults in Wales, are physically inactive.

Our Physical Activity for Health and Well-being research focuses upon improving knowledge and understanding of the impacts on health and well-being of regular physical activity, physical inactivity and sedentary behaviour. We have world-renowned expertise in the following research priority areas:

  • Appetite and metabolic health

  • Vascular health and blood pressure

  • Musculoskeletal health

  • Exercise in clinical populations

  • Exercise motivation

  • Motor actions and physical literacy

Our expertise enables us to integrate a broad spectrum of physiological, biochemical, and psychological research techniques with the primary objective of improving health and wellbeing for current and future generations through physical activity.

Bangor University has invested £1m in a new state-of-the-art facility, the newly-named (Canolfan PAWB Centre) at its internationally recognised School of Sport Health & Exercise Sciences.

Two new exercise physiology laboratories, which research the functioning of the human body and a large new teaching laboratory extend and complement the School’s existing teaching and research resources. These address the range of health benefits from exercise and physical activity and also investigate performance, sport and extreme environments.

The new, highly flexible space is a significant additional resource for the School’s students and researchers and will, in the main, focus on physiology and rehabilitation.

Professor Tim Woodman, Professor in Sport & Exercise Science was keen to stress that:

“This new expansion ensures the best learning experience for students by co-locating new teaching spaces with the physiology testing and rehabilitation labs. This re-enforces the crucial link between the research being delivered by the School and its teaching activities. The new labs will ensure that the School continues to offer an excellent environment for both physiological research and student development.”

Dr Peter Higson, Chairman, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board commented on the event saying:

“The School conducts excellent research and has extensive links with the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, contributing to its research efforts through collaborative activities. The labs will enable this collaboration to better address specific health and well-being challenges facing both the Welsh and global population.”

Several researchers and students demonstrated their work.

Among them was Dr Jamie Macdonald, Head of the School of Sport, Health & Exercise Sciences. He explains:

“We demonstrated an exercise bike that has been specifically designed to be used in a haemodialysis unit. Patients with stage five chronic kidney disease require regular treatment where they are connected to an artificial kidney to remove waste products and excess fluid from their bodies. This treatment takes place in a haemodialysis unit three times a week for approximately four hours. During the treatment the patient has to sit on a chair. Our newly designed exercise bike allows the patient to exercise during their treatment, increasing their physical activity and potentially improving their quality of life.”

Dr Aamer Sandoo, a lecturer in cardiovascular physiology and researcher in the School’s Health, Exercise and Rehabilitation research group was also demonstrating how he uses high-resolution ultrasound to examine the health of the large blood vessels.  Ultrasound is commonly used in clinical research to understand more about the biological processes which cause heart disease. Dr Sandoo has extensively published his work utilising cutting edge assessments of blood vessel health in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer and other autoimmune diseases. 

Other demonstrations reflect the broad range of current research in areas including sleep apnea, the effect of a sweet taste on heart-rate and work on knee muscle function.