National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM)

  • The University of Sheffield is proud to be one of a number of partners within the National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine's (NCSEM) Sheffield Hub, which aims to support increased physical activity and improved health and wellbeing across the region.
  • Liddy Goyder, Professor of Public Health at the University of Sheffield’s School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR), has been Director of Research at the Sheffield Hub since 2016.

One of London’s central themes for the successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic games was a Legacy Plan that aimed to inspire people to take up increased levels of sport and physical activity focused on creating a lasting impact on health way beyond the 2012 games. The Legacy Plan has four themes: sporting, economic, cultural and environmental.

The National Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM) is an Olympic Legacy project, formed as part of the Legacy Plan Commitment, it is a national collaboration with three hubs, one of which is in Sheffield. The NCSEM is focused on the design, implementation and evaluation of whole system approaches to increasing physical activity across the population.

The Sheffield hub

The University of Sheffield is one of a number of regional partners within Sheffield’s NCSEM and a range of collaborative research projects support the aims of the Centre. Sheffield's NCSEM resources now include: NHS clinical and research facilities in three community leisure centres; a programme of conferences and seminars that bring together researchers with common interests to stimulate and support collaboration and a network of active researchers nationally and regionally in the field of physical activity and health.

Professor Liddy Goyder, Professor of Public Health in ScHARR and Director of Research for the NCSEM in Sheffield, has a major role, supported by both universities, in bringing together academics and research teams with NCSEM partners from the NHS and City Council, local business and community organisations to undertake collaborative research which advances our understanding of how we can best support people to be more active and supports the Move More strategy.

There are currently a number of PhD projects taking place as well as initiatives such as Move More and Active 10.

PhD Projects

There are currently four PhD projects taking place in association with the NCSEM in a range of settings. Each looking at how to effectively promote physical activity in a variety of ways.

  • Developing workplace interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour at work in partnership with local employers
  • Increasing leisure centre use by members - working with SIV (Sheffield International Venues)
  • Exploring participation in recreational community events - working with ParkRun
  • Modelling the long term benefits from increasing physical activity as part of the school day in secondary schools

Move More

At the forefront of NCSEM activity is its championing of the Move More initiative (2015-2020), a city-wide whole systems approach to promoting physical activity that is co-developed with individuals from over 100 multi-sector organisations in Sheffield. Its aim is to make Sheffield the most active city in the UK by making it as easy as possible for residents to build physical activity into their daily lives with community activities and provider discounts on services and products, alongside various health schemes. Each June is Move More month during which the residents of Sheffield are invited to engage in a wide range of physical activities aimed to raise the profile of activity in the City and connect people to physical activities locally.

The University of Sheffield’s Professor Fabio Ciravegna developed the first iteration of the Move More app that was used in 2016-17.

Active 10

Fabio Ciravegna, Professor of Computer Science, has worked in partnership with the NCSEM to develop the Active 10 app on behalf of Public Health England. Active 10 encourages users to get fit through multiple ten-minute sessions of brisk walking rather than focusing on harder to reach targets such as a certain number of steps. Regular brisk walking helps to reduce the risk of many diseases and can help improve mental health but many adults do not currently manage brisk walking and miss out on the health benefits.

Active 10 is recommended by GP’s. It has had over 870,000 downloads to date. The servers have collected over a billion geolocated data points. The data suggests that the least active individuals engage most, leading to sustained changes in physical activity over a period of over 6 months.