We often hear references to the ‘obesity epidemic’ accompanied by the recommendation that we all become more active and pay more attention to our food choices.

Unfortunately, our complex brains often hear the message but don’t follow through. So just how do we get people to become active, and to remain active.

UON Central Coast’s Dr Xanne Janse de Jonge is an academic in Exercise & Sport Science and with the assistance of PhD students she is trying to provide answers to healthier lives.

“I first became interested in Exercise & Sport science because I played sport throughout high school and was interested in how I could improve my own performance. As I learned more about exercise physiology, I also became interested in the health related aspects of physical activity.”

The reference to ‘obesity epidemic’ is one that is being heard around the world yet it can be safely assumed that people don’t want to be overweight and they don’t want to become ill. Yet if ‘diet and exercise’ was so easy, we’d all do it and we’d all be fit and fabulous. Obviously, there’s a significant psychological element to be dealt with.

“Our three-year degree focuses on all areas of exercise and sport science– exercise physiology, biomechanics, motor control and development and exercise psychology.”

“In the first year we look at the science of the body and how it works. In the second and third years we apply the knowledge from first year to exercise & sport. One of our second year courses focusses on exercise and sport psychology – how do we convince people to be active and to exercise. So we look at motivation, but we also put an emphasis on adherence and this is a really important area. Once we get a person exercising, how do we get them to continue exercising?”

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