Fitness Research

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Fitness Research


Fitness Research was established in 2009 with initial research funding for three years from the Australian Institute of Fitness to the University of the Sunshine Coast.

The research will focus on the fitness industry and the populations, communities and environments that are related to the fitness industry.


The purpose is to improve the health of Australian’s through an improved body of fitness knowledge for dissemination, training and implementation by the fitness industry.


To further develop fitness industry protocols that are safe and effective for the broader community, this research will scientifically investigate the following themes:

  • measuring the long term benefits of popular fitness activities
  • determining changes in physical characteristics from strength training in children, overweight individuals and older adults
  • determining reliable and safe training and exercise prescription protocols
  • providing some long term data on fitness participation and community benefits
  • providing more definitive protocols for correct exercise techniques and movement patterns
  • providing more definitive information on sedentary death syndrome (SeDS) and the role of fitness activities in its reduction.

Chief investigators

Dr Mark McKean and Professor Brendan Burkett from USC act as chief investigators.

Research projects will include higher degree by research (HDR) students, fellow academics from the USC and collaborative researchers from other institutions and organisations.

Quote from Greg Hurst, CEO of Australian Institute of Fitness

"This is another first for the Australian Institute of Fitness and we are delighted to be investing in the future of the fitness industry. There is a lot of information out there but too much of it is contradictory. There are many practices and protocols in place but sometimes they are just historical and need to be challenged for efficacy. In partnering with the University of the Sunshine Coast and experts like Mark McKean and Brendan Burkett, we can turn information into intelligence. This three year project will involve new research as well as the analysis of existing research. While $210k is a significant investment the scope of the project is broad and we hope to attract other partners willing to invest in a smarter, safer, more effective fitness industry."

Quote from Mark McKean, Chief Investigator

"Having been involved in the fitness industry at all levels for many years, I saw first hand the need for a more scientific approach to industry practices. The partnership formed between the Australian Institute of Fitness and the University of the Sunshine Coast to establish Fitness Research will allow the development of a research program that is unique to the fitness industry and one that will support the industry in improving the health and well being of all Australians."

Journal of Fitness Research

In conjunction with Australian Institute of Fitness Research and Australian Fitness Network, the University of the Sunshine Coast Fitness Research Group has developed the online Open Access Journal, Journal of Fitness Research.

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