Embedding physical activity into everyday life is significantly beneficial for our physical and mental health, according to Associate Professor Amanda Benson.
Associate Professor Benson is the Course Director for Swinburne’s Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science and conducts research into the health outcomes of physical activity and exercise.
“As well as being valuable to general health and wellbeing, physical activity is also proven to prevent and treat chronic disease,” she says.
“Embedding physical activity into daily life from a young age can help prevent a number of the risk factors of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, from developing.”
While her research focuses on chronic disease intervention, Associate Professor Benson says we shouldn’t be waiting until we’re older or unwell to be thinking about our physical activity and exercise efforts.
“It’s important to establish good habits in children and adolescents that will encourage them to continue to be active into adulthood,” she explains.
An ambassador for being active
With her extensive research background in the health benefits of physical activity, it is fitting that Associate Professor Benson is the academic ambassador for Premier’s Active April this year.
A Victorian government initiative, the campaign encourages all Victorians to complete at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day.
Associate Professor Benson says she is pleased to be part of the campaign and to support its key messages through her research.
“Active April promotes the importance of trying out new activities and finding ways to embed 30 minutes of physical activity into your lifestyle so you continue to be active,” she says.
“The activity that people like is probably going to be the one they’ll continue to do long-term, so it’s important to engage in activities that are enjoyable and don’t feel like a chore.”
Training the next generation of exercise and sport scientists
As part of the Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science, Associate Professor Benson teaches students about working with clients to encourage physical activity and exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.
“There are a number of technological changes that have decreased the opportunity to be physically active, so we teach students how they could help someone to insert that activity back into their lifestyle,” Associate Professor Benson says.
Students are immersed in the world of exercise and sport science in the course and learn about the importance of physical activity and exercise through hands-on experience within state-of-the-art facilities at Swinburne’s Health Precinct.
“We teach our students how to navigate the increasingly digitised exercise and sport industries so they can graduate feeling prepared to create real-world impact,” she says.
“It’s fantastic to have the opportunity to conduct research in this field and use those findings to help train the next generation of exercise and sport scientists.”