15 December 2014

woman walking for exerciseA PhD scholarship worth $140,000 is being offered in UniSA’s School of Health Sciences, thanks to ACH Group.

A not-for-profit organisation supporting older Australians, ACH Group is funding the scholarship to trial an exercise program to improve the health and fitness of its workforce. 

The program, ‘Know Your Numbers’, will test the effectiveness of affect-regulated exercise in 100 employees who volunteer to take part from ACH Group sites in the southern area.

UniSA’s Associate Professor in Exercise and Sport Psychology Gaynor Parfitt will supervise the successful PhD scholarship student in their work with ACH Group employees.

Assoc Prof Parfitt has spent many years researching affect-regulated exercise, the underlying mechanisms and how it can be used to regulate exercise intensity to support long-term health behaviour.

“Recent research has linked the affective responses to exercise, that is how pleasant or unpleasant exercise is perceived to be, to future exercise behaviour,” she says.

“It works on the principle that individuals will seek to repeat behaviours that are pleasurable and avoid those that are not. If an exercise experience has been pleasant then the individual is more likely to choose to repeat it, but if it has been unpleasant, this is less likely to be the case.

Gaynor Parfitt“The ‘Know Your Numbers’ program will support the individual volunteers to use affect-regulated exercise to increase their physical activity levels, take control of their behaviour and improve their health.

“We believe the ‘Know Your Numbers’ approach will lead to fitness gains and improvement’s in the individual employee’s metabolic health, while supporting long-term health behaviour change in the ACH Group workforce demographic.”

ACH Group General Manager for People and Innovation, Jane Mussared, says ACH Group is excited to offer the scholarship to undertake a trial of the ‘Know Your Numbers’ program.

“ACH Group is a learning organisation and our staff have high expectations that they will continue to develop and grow as part of their work with us. We are looking forward to introducing the potential benefits to our staff,” she says.

“The ‘Know Your Numbers’ program is an important part of our unique ‘Good Lives’ approach. We value the good lives of all the people who are part of ACH Group whether they are our customers, our staff or volunteers. 

“This scholarship presents an opportunity to join with UniSA to test an idea we have been committed to for a long time.”

The scholarship is worth a total $140,000 over four years. For more information on the scholarship go to www.unisa.edu.au/ACHscholarship or phone 8302 2274.

Media contact: Kelly Stone office 8302 0963 mobile 0417 861 832 email Kelly.stone@unisa.edu.au


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