Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Health Studies
Tier 1 - 2002-07-01
The University of Manitoba
Defining the role of regular physical activity in determining the properties of the nervous system.
Results of this research will provide information regarding fundamental adaptations of the neuromuscular system to physical activity. This will be important to professionals applying physical activity to people with neural and neuromuscular deficits.
Impact of Physical Activity on the Nervous System
The importance of physical activity - or the lack of it - on the quality of life is becoming more and more apparent. The physiological effects of activity and inactivity have been amply described for many physiological systems, including muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, thermoregulatory, hormonal and skeletal. However, knowledge regarding the effects of increased and decreased activity on the nervous system is still rudimentary, mostly because of the fact that the explosion of information in neurosciences has only occurred within the last two decades.
As Chair in Physical Activity and Health Studies, Dr. Phillip Gardiner will combine his research program of the fundamental responses of the nervous system to altered physical activity with his work as Director of the Health, Leisure and Human Performance Research Institute (HLHP). This combination of the fundamental and the practical will provide a unique rich environment for the creation, dissemination and discussion of new knowledge regarding physical activity in general, and the effects of physical activity on the nervous system in particular.
Dr. Gardiner's program is designed to attempt to uncover basic adaptive mechanisms in nerve cells, and to demonstrate indirect evidence for activity-related adaptations in the central nervous system. The knowledge that will be generated by the research program is necessary for the development of a mechanistic approach to the use of exercise as a rehabilitative tool in conditions of neural and neuromuscular deficiencies. These conditions include those caused by normal and abnormal aging, those resulting from trauma and disease, or chronic inactivity-related neural and neuromuscular deficiencies.
Dr. Gardiner has a unique combination of knowledge in the areas of exercise physiology, neurophysiology and molecular biology, and research skills in applying this knowledge to a highly pertinent research laboratory approach. As Director of the HLHP Research Institute, he will be in a position to foster a large number of collaborative projects within the university and with established collaborators.