Holsworth Research Initiative

Our research focusses on exercise, physical activity and rehabilitation.

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Spotlight on HRI Researchers

On the move with Associate Professor Brett Gordon

Brett Gordon researches how to prescribe safe, effective exercise for people with underlying health conditions, like diabetes and pre-diabetes, obesity and cardiac conditions. He wants to develop ways to help people manage their conditions through exercise, safely and effectively.

This is a research story all about movement, both metaphorically and literally. For a start, Brett moved a lot when he was young. His father was a bank manager in rural towns, and moved every few years. Brett reckons he had lived in ten small towns before he was eighteen.

On the move again

Brett’s research journey really started at the Austin Hospital building exercise prescriptions for people with cardiac disease. Cardiac disease is one of the major causes of mortality and morbidity in the world today yet only 20-30% of people who have a cardiac event attend rehab sessions. At the time, the beneficial effects of exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation were developing but the implementation was not consistent. He decided to research how to improve it, so people can get maximum benefit from their exercise, and reduce their risk of having another cardio-vascular event.

He went on to study how people with chronic fatigue syndrome and diabetes can best manage their condition with exercise, and found that resistance training was a safe method that actually reduced their fatigue and improved wellbeing.

La Trobe Bendigo teaching & research success

Meanwhile, Brett was ‘on the move’ in other ways. He was keen to return to the regions so took the opportunity to work with La Trobe Bendigo. Brett is proud of his department’s teaching success and how it interacts with La Trobe Rural Health School research.

Demographics show that people who live in regions are at higher risk of developing heart diseases and diabetes. It is vital to provide expert evidence-based exercise prescriptions for people living with chronic conditions in the regions. This will reduce heavier health problems like the cardiac consequences of diabetes.

With Bendigo’s exercise physiology teaching program, Brett feels La Trobe is building an expert workforce to help take the department’s research into the community and improve the health and well-being of regional people.

“Every year we have 20 to 30 students graduate as exercise physiologists from Bendigo campus and 80% of them work in the regions. That’s a huge contribution, every year, to regional health and well-being.”

Holsworth Research initiative aims

Brett is using the Holsworth Research Initiative funding to further his mission:

“We know exercise is a great help in managing cardiac and metabolic conditions but it is so hard to keep going. We want to make sure  that we can prescribe exercise so that people can exercise in safe and effective ways.”

We look forward to bringing you more updates on Brett’s research. Stay tuned to this space.

Brett Gordon at the LTU Bendigo Excercise Physiology Lab. 08/08/2019. Photo: Brendan McCarthy