Masters Studies

Matthew’s research

The immediate and delayed effects of acute resistance exercise on cognitive performance

As the body of evidence grows with respect to our understanding of the physiology behind human performance, new insights emerge in the field of exercise training and cognitive function with the prospect of pushing the boundaries of human performance even further. Among other forms of exercise training, resistance exercise has recently received attention boasting positive improvements on cognitive function. The study seeks to examine the immediate and delayed effect of acute resistance exercise at different intensities on cognitive performance across multiple cognitive domains.

Anthony’s research

Summary of my Research: I am testing the effects of wearing compression tights during sustained recovery on performance for highly trained cyclists. Participants will be split into a control and experimental group and perform an exhaustive bout of exercise designed to generate fatigue.  After the session the experimental group will wear a lower body compression garment for 24 hours while the control will be allowed to wear any non-compressive clothing they prefer. Following the 24 hours recovery the participants will perform a laboratory 40km time trial to determine the garments effects on recovery for performance and physiological markers. Performance time and mean power output over the 40km will be used as performance markers and quadriceps muscle oxygenation and heart rate will be used as physiological markers. Hear rate will also be measured overnight during recovery as a crude measure for venous return/blood flow. 1 week later the groups will be reversed and the experimental procedures repeated so the groups may act as their own controls.

PhD Studies

Carla's research

Title: The dose-response relationship of resistance exercise on cognitive function in older individuals.

Aim: Few studies in the literature focus on the relationship between the frequency of exercise and cognitive function. As of yet, no study has focused on the time needed for cognitive improvements to take place. Therefore, the primary aim of this study is to determine if there is a dose-response relationship between the frequency of exercise and cognitive function. The secondary aim is to determine if this response differs between men and women. The cognitive function of the study sample will be tested on a regular basis (i.e. every four weeks), with the aim to describe the time course of the relationship between fitness level and cognitive function.

Methods: Sixty sedentary individuals, men and women, (between 55 and 75 years) will be asked to volunteer for this parallel group, experimental study. Body composition, VO2 peak, cognitive performance, muscular strength, static and dynamic balance, resting heart rate, resting blood pressure and changes in brain oxygenation will be measured as outcome variables.

Intervention: The selected participants will be randomly allocated to two groups, namely a control group that will receive no intervention and an experimental group that will take part in a resistance exercise intervention over a period of 16 weeks. The intervention group will exercise at a moderate intensity (64-76% of age predicted maximal heart rate), performing three resistance exercise sessions per week. Participants’ cognitive function, VO2 peak, balance, muscular strength and changes in brain oxygenation will be measured at baseline, as well as every four weeks.

Lara Grobler’s Research

Characterization of running specific prostheses and its effect on sprinting performance in two competitive athletes.

This study aims to determine how the running prostheses react under different conditions to better understand the prostheses as a part of the athletes’ performance. We will test biomechanical and physiological variables in two competitive sprinters who run with lower limb prostheses. Different prostheses will be tested to determine what influence the differences in the prostheses have on these variables.

Bradley Fryer’s Research

The implementation of a community-based lifestyle intervention program for adults with type 2 diabetes in Stellenbosch

The purpose of this study is to examine whether a community-based intervention is effective in managing the physiological and health-related parameters of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus in socially disadvantaged communities. It will be a 12 week intervention study with a 12 week follow-up to assess its effectiveness and feasibility as a  community interaction program.