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Sports lab gets a makeover

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Chante Schatz
August26/ 2017

The newly renovated Movement Physiology Research Laboratory was officially launched.

The School of Physiology recently launched its newly renovated research laboratory. The Movement Physiology Research Laboratory, as it is known, incorporates a 21st century feel in modern day sports technology.

The laboratory was first founded in 1983 by the then Department of Medical Physiology. Today, the laboratory has been split to accommodate exercise physiology and biomechanics physiology.

Dr. Rebecca Meiring, the head of exercise physiology at the laboratory, told Wits Vuvuzela that there are three broad research areas in the new lab which include sports biomechanics, neuromuscular physiology and habitual activity behaviour monitoring.

“We have expertise in the neural control of balance with research having been done in ballet dancers and horse riders,” said Meiring.

“We also have a well-established area of specialisation in the field of physical activity and sedentary behaviour monitoring and have used these techniques to detail activity behaviours in South Africans with chronic health conditions including musculoskeletal and metabolic diseases,” she said. These areas of applied exercise physiology will be the lab’s main focus for the next few years.

The new laboratory’s facilities include a new scrumming machine, a cognitive station, a balance station and anthropometric facility which Meiring says will “enable many exciting projects in coming years”.

Research Associate, David Goble, assists with different research topics undertaken at the lab. At the moment he is working with honours student Siobhan De Lange whose research focuses on factors that predict putting success in golf using variables in biomechanics. “Using a 3D capturing system, we put a whole bunch of markers on our participants and the cameras around detect the markers in a 3D space,” said Goble.

It was just last year that the head of school decided that the facility needed a new look. According to Meiring, funds for the renovation came from money raised by staff for their published research articles, research productivity as well as assistance from the School of Physiology itself.

“Ultimately the staff and students who work on research in the lab were the ones who funded the renovations,” she said.

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Chante Schatz