Humanities & Social Sciences placements

Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences' students share their placement and year abroad experiences.

Tagged: Exercise

Ellie & Roisin's year at SHPI

  , ,

📥  2015-16, Health


BASES Student Conference 2016

Just before Easter we travelled across the country to Bangor, Wales for this years BASES student conference. This involved two days of talks by leading sports scientists, workshops and short student presentations. This was a great opportunity to learn about what students from other universities had been researching, as well as picking up some tips on Sports Science careers from the pros!

Dr Steve Ingham gave an interesting talk on what the English Institute of Sport (EIS) has been doing to prepare our GB athletes for Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. He then led a workshop on self awareness giving some audience members the chance to go on stage and present on any topic of their choice for 1 minute (including Ellie!). He also spoke about the importance of Sports Science students gaining hands on experience before working in the field, and the problem the world of sports science is currently facing with students relying solely on theoretical knowledge taught at universities. This made us feel fortunate to have secured a year long placement at the SHPI where we have already gained a huge amount of invaluable experience.

Bases photo

Dr Steve Ingham - Director of Science and Technical Development at the English Institute of Sport, delivering a talk on Olympic athlete preparation.


Keeping ourselves busy...

One of the skills we have learnt and been practicing is ECG application. One of our common fitness tests called a Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test (CPET) uses ECGs to look at the electrical activity of the heart during exercise to make sure the heart is functioning as it should. Applying an ECG correctly takes practice so during our quieter periods Roisin and I have been taking the opportunity to put each other through our paces. The middle photo below shows Roisin fitted up with all the kit for a CPET, her results were nothing to write home about so she's off to the gym to get exercising!



Ellie and Joe decided to sign up to the Surrey Half Marathon in March 3 weeks before the event. Realising that they still had a way to go with their fitness training we decided to put some sport science knowledge into practice to make their few sessions as effective as possible! This included a baseline fitness test to give them heart rate and speed training zones to use, as well as a mixture of high intensity intervals and long runs outside. Luckily the training paid off and they both got round in one piece with Ellie being just 3 minutes behind manager Joe!

Finally after all this work and exercise we found time to go watch the Harlequins play Bath at the Stoop Rugby ground in nearby Twickenham. Roisin and I felt torn on which team to support, being Bath Students but having worked with a few of the Quins team over the last year. We decided to cheer for the Quins who ended up on top winning the game 35-28.


I Have Walked Through the Gates of Hell

  , ,

📥  2014-15, Psychology

I joined the gym this month.

Apparently after eight months of witnessing the seams on my jeans get increasingly threateningly strained, I have decided to “get into shape”. I really don’t think that is an appropriate phrase though – I am in a shape already and have always been in one, but it is admittedly a more rotund shape than the one I had in England and I can’t afford to buy a new pair of jeans. So I joined the gym. Not the expensive Boston University gym ($50/month), but the smaller, more modest gym directly across the street ($20/month), meaning I can still afford to buy food for dinner. If you pick the right machines, you can look out the window onto the fancier gym and think about what you could have had, if you didn’t have to pay rent. It may be cheaper, but it’s still a hell of a lot better than any gym I have ever decided to pay for and attend (which is one – the gym at the secondary school near my home, which is simply a small room with two functioning treadmills and cross-trainers, a bike machine, an ambiguous step contraption and an exercise ball).

The first thing I noticed about the gym was the men. Not in a voyeuristic way, but it is hard to ignore the huge ripped bodies sauntering around from weight to weight. The really serious ones wear gloves while they “pump iron” (do people still say that?), which I didn’t realise was a thing. They want to look big and strong, but lord forbid they get a callus while working on their biceps! I have also found that no one really smiles at the gym. It is like you have to look permanently serious, otherwise you won’t burn any calories. Either that, or no one is genuinely happy to be there. Maintaining a po-faced look is something I find quite hard however, as I am usually listening to my “gym playlist”; effectively a collection of Destiny’s Child and Ke$ha songs and nothing makes me smile more than hearing my girls defiantly sing “I’m inhaling” in “Survivor”.

Approaching a new weight machine for the first time is a bemusing affair and about as stressful as trying to work out how to buy a train ticket from a machine in a foreign country. The intricate drawings of muscled bodies instructing you on what to do are never that helpful and really only show where they are supposed to help with whichever part of yourself you are trying to change. You don’t want to do it wrong and look silly, better just let someone else use it first and learn from observation. I have a tendency to decide to use a weights machine that a body builder has just left, meaning that I have to move the dial from the very bottom to the very top. Occasionally I move it down a little when I’m done, so that the next person will respect me/won’t have to see how puny I really am.

Finding a cardio machine that I don’t hate was tough. The cross-trainer is insanely boring, the treadmill makes my shin splints flare up, the obscure step machine is disappointing as I cannot shake the feeling that I am not really going anywhere (I already dislike climbing stairs and am an avid supporter of the taking the lift up one floor) and the rowing machine does not face the TVs. Consequently, I have decided that the bike machine is the least awful of the group, as I can sit back, peddle a bit and watch whatever film is playing on the big screens reasonably easily (or “The Real Housewives of Atlanta”, for some reason it’s always on).

My horizontal expansion is, quite frankly, a little surprising. I walk to and from work every day, which takes a collective 80 minutes and is more walking than I ever did in a week at Bath, I have been training and playing with the Harvard Club Lacrosse team twice a week and I have not bought cheese since 2014. My suspicion falls upon the fact that I have gone back to eating white bread – I have not found an American version of “half and half” and brown bread is obviously the worst, so it had to be white. The bread here is also full of terrible things (it takes a worryingly long time to go stale and is unusually sweet), so I’m blaming everything on my morning toast.

To be honest, the main thing I hate about the gym is that working out makes my hair go frizzy at the roots. As a mixed-raced girl with relaxed hair, I do not have the luxury of being able to get sweaty and gross, then hop in the shower, dry off and look fantastic again. Going to the gym the day after doing my hair would basically be throwing away an hour’s worth of hard work spent using my blow-drier and hair straighteners to heat my roots into submission. Additionally, there are far more enjoyable things I could be doing for an hour than being at the gym, like watching an episode of any show on Netflix, scrolling aimlessly through my Facebook timeline or napping.

The vast collection of people in Boston who go jogging and have great legs is likely to have impacted on my decision to breach the doors of doom and get a membership. This is a toxic environment where everyone seems to love the outdoors and exercising. In no way am I trying to be like those sick people, but I would not mind being fit enough to be able to walk to the supermarket without getting a stitch.