Evaluation of Southern Cross Switch2Well programme

The Switch2Well programme was initiated by Southern Cross in 2006 as a wellness programme to engage staff, support teamwork and enhance the wellbeing of its workforce. The programme incorporates various innovations to keep it fresh and challenging and to allow staff from different backgrounds to make positive changes. The primary objective of this study is to assess the Switch2Well programme from a cost-benefit perspective. We also aim to examine relationships between staff engagement, types of engagement, quantity of time spent within the programme, current fitness levels and potential health outcomes.

Collaborators: Assoc Prof Sasha Molchanov, Prof Christoph Schumacher and Dr Daniel Walsh (Massey University)

Comparison of electrolyte levels and immune function markers in saliva, sweat, urine and/or plasma in resting and exercising humans

Various markers can be used to assess how the body responds to exercise and to examine the effects of training regimes. Some of the best ways to do this require invasive procedures such as biopsies and blood sampling. However, it may be easier to analyse urine, saliva and/or sweat samples – especially for certain electrolytes (salts), hormones and immune markers – and this may increase the likelihood of getting more participants for exercise studies. Therefore, the aim of this study is to compare electrolyte, hormones and immune markers in various bodily fluids (saliva, sweat, urine and blood); we will examine responses in males vs. females and rest vs. exercise.

We have also examined validity and reliability of different methods of saliva sampling (unstimulated whole saliva, stimulated whole saliva and cotton bud methods).

Collaborators: Dr Kay Rutherfurd-Markwick (Massey University) and Dr Deborah Dulson (AUT University)

Beetroot juice supplementation and cardiovascular responses and metabolism in young and old men and women

With increasing rates of disease and age-related dysfunction, there is a growing interest in the use of food-based supplements and bioactive compounds to help improve or maintain one’s health and body functions. This has led to the interest in beetroot juice (which contains nitrate) as a health food, which has the potential to improve cognition, mood and cardiovascular function. However, further research is required to support this. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of acute nitrate supplementation, from beetroot juice taken with breakfast, on cognition, mood and cardiovascular responses in younger and older adults.

Student: Luke Stanaway

Collaborators: Dr Kay Rutherfurd-Markwick (Massey University)