• Perceptions of Community Archaeology as a Practice and Profession: The Experience of the Council for British Archaeology's Community Archaeology Bursary Holders

      Stringfellow, Emma (University of Chester, 2017)
      The growth of community archaeology and the engagement of the non-professional archaeologist in archaeology has grown significantly over the last thirty years. In the UK, this growth has to a large extent been driven by the political and social concern with "community" as a stabilising factor in society and the argument that a greater attachment to "place" provides social cohesiveness. Other factors such as an increase in leisure time in the active retired and the popularity of archaeology in the media, have also contributed to increasing numbers of the public becoming involved in the practice of archaeology. This research examines the role of the specialist"community archaeologist" within this landscape of increasing public participation. This analysis covers both the experience of the bursary holders who undertook the Council for British Archaeology's (CBA) Community Archaeology Bursary (CAB) training scheme which ran from 2011 to 2015 and the wider employment market for specialist community archaeologists. This research analyses the outcomes of the scheme against the Council's success measures and provides suggestions for further work. The author will argue that engagement of the public in the practice of archaeology exists as a series of practices all archaeologists should have in their professional repertoire, rather than a distinct specialist full time role. It will conclude that the focus of professional archaeological engagement with the public should be on supporting collaboration and democratic participation rather than what could be perceived as a colonisation of the practice and that the sector focus should be on building the practice of public engagement as an integral professional skill for any archaeologist.
    • Perceptions of Introducing Brown Rice into the Diet of Iranians in Lenjan County, Isfahan, Iran

      Fallows, Stephen; Brannigan, Angela (University of Chester, 2016-06-01)
      Objective: To understand Iranian women’s perceptions of brown rice and to assess their willingness to substitute the commonly consumed white rice for brown rice in their own and family diets. Design: A cross sectional survey was used to examine women’s perceptions of brown rice and assess their willingness to substitute brown rice for white rice in their diets. As part of the study, participants gained knowledge about the health and nutritive benefits of brown rice, tasted different brown rice dishes and given the opportunity to cook it in their own homes following cooking guidance and recipes. Setting: Lenjan County, Isfahan, Iran. Subjects: 106 (n) Iranian women over 18 years living in the Lenjan area who cook and eat rice. Results: The study revealed that most participants (59.4%) had little awareness about brown rice or its nutritive properties and the majority (79.2%) had never tasted it before. It was found that despite frequent consumption of white rice most participants (95%) and their families liked the taste of the brown rice and would cook and eat it on a regularly basis if available locally. Conclusions: The present study suggests that brown rice replacement in the diet of Iranians would be culturally acceptable as participants liked its overall taste and wanted to eat healthy food. A dietary intervention to change the staple rice quality in Iran has the potential to improve population health and have an impact on reducing diet-related diseases.
    • Performance indicator ranking and predictive modelling in rugby union.

      Green, Ryan F. (University of Chester, 2015-09)
      The aim of this study is to increase the body of knowledge surrounding Northern Hemisphere rugby union by establishing norms for performance indicators; forming a ranking of performance indicators in terms of their importance to successful team performance on a game by game and seasonal basis; in addition creating a predictive model that can forecast domestic league success. Match statistics from 132 men’s domestic matches played over the 2014/15 season of the Aviva Premiership were analysed. Team performance indicators representing frequencies of a given event for each team in each match were divided into six categories: attack, defence, kicking, breakdown, set pieces and discipline. Statistics from each of the 132 matches were then inputted into Microsoft Excel and subsequently IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows (version 22) software for statistical analysis. The performance indicators were used to highlight key differences between winning and losing performances as well as team ranking on a game by game and seasonal basis. It was found that in accordance to previous research, clean breaks are crucial to successful rugby performance as they often lead to some form of score, and scoring often reflects game outcome (Hughes et al., 2012). Also the need for penalty limitation and effective set pieces, to maintain possession and limit the scoring opportunities of the opposition, (Askew, 2010; Higham, 2014; Hughes et al., 2012) has been supported. Finally, a significant (P<0.05) relationship between successful rugby union performance and the amount of mauls won was found, it has been theorized that this was due to the effectiveness of a specific set piece tactic known as lineout drives.
    • Performance management and the voluntary sector: A fine romance?

      Warhurst, Russell; McClenaghan, David (University of Chester, 2010-10)
      This research project considers the contribution that Performance Management principles and techniques have made to the voluntary sector’s growing requirement to provide services to the Public Service and in particular to how specialist palliative care providers have responded to the commissioning agenda in the new health care economy. The methodology adopted in this research uses a critical literature review and a small selection of semi-structured interviews to consider the introduction, implementation and effect of performance management and appraisal systems in the voluntary sector and the hospice movement. The main findings of this project suggest that there is more research needed to establish the effective contribution that the renewed interest in human resource management has made within the voluntary sector.
    • Performance management: Assessing the gap between theory and practice in an SME

      Rowland, Caroline; Gresty, Dominique (University of Chester, 2010-06)
      This study seeks to assess issues which may prevent performance management theory being applied effectively in practice. In particular it is interested in performance management in an SME. A single case study was used to test the author’s theoretical propositions and assess them against previous academic research. Findings were validated through a multi-method approach. Many issues found in prior performance management research were present in the study organisation, with behavioural factors, management capabilities and past experience of performance management as potential barriers to a successful PMS. Although this research is based on a single case study and therefore not generalisable, it can be concluded that for a performance management system to be effective companies must be clear about their goals, develop a coherent PM strategy and show commitment at each stage of the process. This study was based on a privately-owned micro-organisation in the service sector and adds to previous research conducted into performance management issues in SMEs.
    • A performance measurement tool for improving customer satisfaction with a local government framework: A case study of Cheshire County Council, Engineering Service

      Webb, Paul; Wood, Sheena (University of Chester, 2006-06)
      The dissertation describes the research undertaken and presents findings from a review of approaches, in order to measure and understand what factors contribute to either achieving or inhibiting customer satisfaction within Cheshire County Council, Engineering Service. The aim of the research is to establish a performance measurement tool for addressing and improving customer satisfaction levels. This will be carried out by conducting a balanced appraisal within a regional engineering service environment, in order to assemble the required data for enhancing current practices and to meet the challenge of continuous improvement of performance for CES. The dissertation describes the methods utilised in order to achieve these objectives by: • Reviewing relevant literature associated with organisational performance and customer satisfaction. This will inform and provide the framework for the research. • Defining the methodology adopted to undertake the research in terms of the philosophical stance, approach, strategy and methods of data collection utilised. • Reporting the findings of the research, demonstrating how they were arrived at through analysis of the collected data and by testing this against relevant theory. Qualitative methods have been adopted for the purpose of this case study. It is anticipated that this case study will enable the Service to contribute to improving the overall moderate three star status achieved by the County Council at it's latest comprehensive performance assessment in accordance with the government's customer focused modernising agenda. The research question and aims that are being investigated for the purpose of this study are: What type of Performance Measurement Tool should be used for improving customer Satisfaction, within a Local Government Framework? To analyse the current performance measurement tools, within an ES environment. To provide a balanced appraisal for evaluating customer satisfaction through performance management within an Engineering environment. To identify the gaps between levels of customer satisfaction and perceived performance by analysing the results of aims 1 and 2 and making recommendations for improvement. To establish what changes are required to be taken by Engineering Service to ensure customer satisfaction and to meet the challenge of continuous improvement in performance. In order to answer the research question and to achieve the research aims, a phenomenological philosophy is adopted, using a case study strategy and an inductive approach. The data collection methodology has been identified based on the findings of an internal focus group established to review customer satisfaction. The parameters of detailed research methodology are extended to four regional authorities in addition to Cheshire in order to demonstrate a balanced and authoritative outcome.
    • Performance profiling in professional mixed martial arts (MMA): comparing winning and losing performances.

      Crossley, Tom (University of Chester, 2015-09)
      The purpose of the study was to differentiate between winning and losing performances in professional MMA contests using performance profiles. 16 contests across 8 weight categories were analysed using a bespoke analysis template. Profiles for winners and losers were constructed using offensive striking (OS), defensive striking (DS), offensive grappling (OG) and defensive grappling (DG) data. Winners had significantly higher success rates for OS (P < 0.05, d = 0.50) and OG (P < 0.05, d = 0.77) than losers. Winners also had significantly more dominant control than losers for OS (P < 0.05, d = 0.86), OG (P < 0.05, d = 0.77) and DG (P < 0.05, d = 0.66). Winners displayed significantly greater OS (P < 0.05, d = 0.61) in the ground domain. Winners displayed higher levels of technical efficiency for OS and OG as well as the ability to maintain dominant positions during the bout. This allowed the winning athletes more opportunities to strike and attempt submissions which can lead to the stoppage of a contest. The findings suggest that an athlete’s striking efficiency and grappling control are key components of winning a professional MMA contest.
    • Person-centred counsellors' assessment for brief therapy: A small scale qualitative study of the experiences of person-centred counsellors working in a brief therapy session

      Mintz, Rita; Knight, Jane (University of Chester, 2008-11)
      Assessment is considered a key ingredient of brief therapy and yet it is antithetical for many person-centred counsellors. Consequently, there has been little research into how person-centred counsellors assess for brief therapy, if indeed they do. Moreover, there is limited guidance from the literature to assist the person-centred counsellor in this respect. Being informed by Wilkins and Gill's (2003) research, this small scale, qualitative study used unstructured interviews to explore the experiences of five person-centred counsellors who worked in brief therapy settings. Verbatim transcripts from the interviews were analysed using the constant comparative method of data analysis. The results indicated that the process of assessment was not a separate event that could be isolated and analysed critically, but was contextual and continuous throughout therapy. The outcomes showed support for Wilkins and Gill's (2003) research and point to a theory of assessment based on a judgment about aspects of the relationship. Implications for training, research and practice are discussed.
    • Person-centred counsellors’ experiences of working within time boundaries: A heuristic informed enquiry

      Mintz, Rita; Bracegirdle, Richard; Hynes, Liz (University of Chester, 2011-11)
      Many counselling services are finding it necessary, due to limited resources, to limit the total number of sessions available to each service user, whilst also providing quality evidence-based practice. This creates a challenge for those delivering services in terms of achieving measurable results in a brief time scale, and particularly for person-centred counsellors who value process over outcomes and will perhaps not have been trained to deliver brief therapy. The aim of this small-scale study is to interview five person-centred counsellors with experience of both open-ended and time-limited practice, to explore their experiences of time-limited therapy. Using the qualitative heuristic inquiry methodology I have endeavoured to capture each co-participants’ experience and compare this with the experiences of the other co-participants to discover emerging themes which were discussed in relation to the literature review. Until recently, little has been written about a model of person-centred brief therapy. Early studies were conducted on brief therapy and time-limited therapy. Person-centred practitioners are divided on their view of brief therapy being compatible with the approach. Those who do believe it to be compatible consider experiential integration to be the essential ingredient to success. Classical person-centred practitioners would argue that this does not embrace the non-directivity of the approach. Results from this study correlate with recent literature and research findings that integrating experiential processing allows for successful brief person-centred therapy. Working in this way is demanding of the therapist, and is influenced by the environment and culture. It does not require working with strategies or techniques, but is practiced as an adaptation of the person-centred philosophy. Three areas were highlighted by all participants as being of particular relevance to this work: the relationship and process, the confidence of the counsellor and their attitudes.
    • Personalisation – Stakeholder perceptions and the impact on social care commissioning in Liverpool

      Stockton, Jim; Campbell, Mark (University of Chester, 2010)
      Personalisation and the introduction of individual budgets have been core elements of central government social care policy for a number of years. They are often promoted as the panacea for a range of social care and equalities issues, but are not clearly and consistently defined. The complexity and fluidity of the social care stakeholder environment requires a specialised approach to engagement. This paper argues that these factors have not been adequately accommodated within marketing and communication strategy at a local and national level and risk compromising the successful introduction of the change programme. The research draws on recent pilot activity in the U.K. and established management practice to evaluate the findings from a study of social care stakeholders in Liverpool. The views of service users, carers and social workers are reflected in the paper which offers recommendations for improved practice in local and central government. The personalisation and individual budget agenda is a critical step in the development of equality for some of the most vulnerable people in the country, but represents significant challenge and risk for stakeholders. This paper recommends a fundamental review of marketing and communication activity to maximise opportunity and minimise the risks associated with the transformation of social care.
    • Personalising Communication during Educational Reviews with Children who have Special Educational Needs

      Dyer, Dawn A. (University of Chester, 2016)
      Current legislation and statutory guidance relating to those identified as having special educational needs (SEN), emphasises the importance of the involvement of children and young people and their families in matters affecting their educational experiences. Due to the heterogeneity of SEN and associated communication difficulties in particular, there may be challenges in successfully eliciting the views of children and young people as part of the annual educational review process. For this study, 61 parent/carer participants from across England responded to an online questionnaire. This was designed firstly to see whether communication methods were differentiated according to the child’s usual or preferred style of communicating, and secondly whether person-centred approaches to facilitate the child’s participation and inclusion had been adopted as part of the process. Correlation analysis found very little evidence of communication methods being differentiated according to usual preferences although there was some evidence of different methods being used during reviews. Further analysis found some evidence that adopting person-centred approaches to educational reviews had a positive effect on overall outcomes for children and young people. It is suggested that future research could seek to capture the perspectives, not only of parents/carers but also of educational practitioners and the children themselves to allow for greater exploration of some of the issues arising in this paper.
    • Perspectives on the conservation of industrial heritage in the National Parks with specific reference to the lead mining and smelting industry in the Yorkshire Dales National Park

      Pardoe, James; Green, Christopher (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 2005-10)
      The main aim of this study was to investogate the current state of the industrial heritage of the National Parks of England and Wales and the ways in which this industrial heritage is being preserved and interpreted from the specific standpoint of the reamining fabric of the lead industry within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Assessments were made of the degree of decay of this fabric over the last 50 years by comparing the current state with that describned in a early study of the Industrial Archaeology of leading smelting in the Yorkshire Dales. Investogations were made into the policies and action plans followed by the National Park authority and voluntary bodies interested in this industry. Finally studies were made of other lead mining and smelting sites elsewhere in England and Wales to see how approaches varied and to compare them with thise taken in the National Park. The study found evidecenopf deterioration in the fabric, significant in places, as well as an apparent public indifference to it and the story it tells. However it generally did fins a positive attitude from the authorities involved towards conservation issues. This was especially true in the National Park, largely a consequence of the priority that National Park authorities must place on preserving their cultural heritage. However, the rate at which some of the fabric is deteriorating, along with the finances available, may mean difficult choices as to which sites get conserved, interpreted or simply recorded.
    • A phenomenological study of clients' experiences of counselling in a pastoral setting

      Lynch, Gordon; Edge, Barbara (University of Liverpool (Chester College of Higher Education), 1999-11)
      In this study four people were interviewed about their experiences of counselling in a pastoral setting. The setting is a Counselling Service which is one of the many projects under the auspices of the Church of England's Committee for Social Responsibility. Semi-structured interviews were used to obtain relevant information. The transcribed interviews were analysed in terms of the constant comparative method of qualitative analysis. The analysis of these interviews reveal that the Christian context of the counselling experience was by far the most reflected on by clients. This study provides evidence that the accommodation of Christian beliefs and values within the counselling process was instrumental for therapeutic change to occur for these particular individuals. The quality of the counselling relationship was of central concern to all the participants in the study and clearly underpinned the therapeutic process. Counsellors were reported as being, open, friendly, caring people without pretentious expertise. Feeling safe and comfortable, being accepted, and not being judged by the counsellor were reported as important aspects of the relationship and set the foundation for a positive therapeutic outcome. As discussed, the aim of this study is not to propose any 'universal truths' about clients' experience. However, this glimpse into the subjective experience of clients provides valuable learning about the nature of counselling from the point of view of the client and raises some implications for the Diocesan Counselling Service and for the practice of the counselling profession in general.
    • Physical activity and functional capacity and normal-weight, overweight and obese Greek young adults

      Buckley, John P.; Fallows, Stephen; Psichogiou, Athinais-Georgia (University of Chester, 2010-09)
      Objective: The aims of this study were to present information regarding the physical activity (PA) profile, functional capacity (FC) status and body composition of normal-weight, overweight and obese young Greeks, to investigate the impact of overweight and obesity on the subjects’ PA and FC and to explore possible interrelations between their anthropometric characteristics, PA and FC. Method: Sixty-two healthy, Greek young adults (27 males), with a mean age of 23.9 ± 3.9 years, attended a single testing session during which they were subjected to anthropometric and physiological measurements, they completed the Greek version of the Short International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-SGR) and they performed two six-minute walk tests (6MWT) using a standardised protocol. Analysis of variance and post hoc analysis was used to investigate possible differences between the three groups, while bivariate correlational techniques were used to assess possible interrelations between the subjects’ anthropometric characteristics, their PA and FC. Results: During the 6MWT, overweight subjects walked significantly further (624.0 ± 88.8 m) than obese subjects (544.9 ± 108.4 m) (p<0.01). No significant differences were observed between the three groups regarding IPAQ scores. Significant associations were mainly detected between the subjects’ anthropometric characteristics and 6MWT-related variables. Conclusions: The FC of normal and overweight subjects appeared to be similar and better than that of obese subjects, while, all subjects, regardless of BMI categorisation, were found to have similar PA profiles. This study further supports the association between obesity indices and functional capacity.
    • Physical activity patterns of 10-11 year olds during the school week

      Fallows, Stephen; Robson, Maria (University of Chester, 2010-10)
      Physical inactivity among children has both immediate and long term health consequences. Recommended guidelines state that children should engage in at least 60 minutes of at least moderate physical activity each day to promote and maintain health. The main purpose of this study was to determine the proportion of 10-11 year old children who were engaging in sufficient physical activity to meet the recommended levels throughout the school week. This study also aimed to determine differences by day, to examine the contexts in which children were achieving their activity and to investigate gender differences. Fifty three 10-11 year olds (18 boys, 35 girls) completed activity diaries each day for one week during the school term. Activities were recorded for the whole of the waking day and intensity assigned to one of four levels, very light, light, moderate or vigorous. The contexts in which the activities took place were categorised as, school based clubs, school based free play, home based clubs or home based free play. Paired t tests, independent t tests, cross tabulation and Chi square tests were conducted to determine differences by day, by activity category, and by gender. The proportions meeting recommended levels varied from 64.2% on Sunday to 83.0% on Thursday. Lower proportions met recommended levels per weekend day, 70.8% than per school day, 78.5%. Significantly (P < 0.05) more time was spent in free play than organised activities. The proportion of total daily moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) from free play was 74.2% on school days and 81.4% on weekends. Out of school activities were significantly (P < 0.05) greater than in school activities, accounting for 62.1% of total daily MVPA. The proportion of boys achieving recommended levels was greater than the proportion of girls on each day of the week, the differences between the genders being significant (P < 0.05) on Saturday and Sunday. Boys engaged in more free time activity than girls both on school days and weekend days, with in school free time and weekend day free time activity being significantly (P < 0.05) greater. Girls engaged in more organised activities than boys on school days and weekend days but not significantly (P < 0.05). On each day of the week a proportion of children did not meet recommended activity levels to benefit health. Activity levels differed by day, gender and context. Both boys and girls achieved more of their MVPA from free play than from organised activities both in and out of school. Initiatives which focus on improving the time and facilities available to children to enable them to participate in safe free play may be effective in increasing health enhancing physical activity.
    • Physical activity promotion in general practice: Irish GPs' knowledge, attitudes and self-reported practice

      Fallows, Stephen; Mortimer, Gary (University of Chester, 2015-09-30)
      Background and aims: Regular PA is one of the most important factors which influences good health and helps control and prevent several chronic diseases. Promoting PA in primary care through GPs could have a very significant health impact on the Irish public. The aim of this research project was to investigate and analyse Irish GPs’ knowledge, attitudes, and self-reported practice of promoting and recommending PA in Ireland. Methods: An electronic survey was used and sent to 711 GPs from 381 practices across Ireland in April 2015. A total of 80 GPs responded, giving a response rate of 11%. Results: The level of PA promotion claimed by Irish GPs was somewhat high (67% promoted PA often (31-50% of patients) or more often (>70% of patients)), however, only 30% (n = 24) of GPs knew the national PA recommendation for Irish adults. Irish GPs are more likely to promote PA if they perceive it as relevant to the patient’s condition (secondary prevention), rather than routinely with all patients (primary prevention). Conclusion: This study raises doubt as to the true level of PA promotion by Irish GPs, and highlights that many Irish GPs do not know and/or are unaware of the national PA recommendations. If no action is taken, there could be very serious implications for the future health of the nation.
    • Physical demands of elite rugby league match-play and the subsequent impact on recovery

      Highton, Jamie M.; Twist, Craig; Oxendale, Chelsea (University of Chester, 2014)
      Whilst fatigue in the days after elite rugby league match-play has been well documented, the specific match actions which contribute to fatigue are not well understood. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the physical demands of elite rugby league match-play and fatigue in the days after. Twenty-eight individual performances from an English Super League team were captured using a 10 Hz global positioning system (GPS). Upper and lower body neuromuscular fatigue, plasma creatine kinase (CK) and perceptual well-being were assessed 24 h before, immediately after, and at 12, 36 and 60 h after a competitive match. Backs covered more distance during sprinting (214.5 ± 117.6 m) and highintensity sprinting (129.6 ± 110.9 m) than forwards (142.9 ± 86.2 and 57.1 ± 67.6 m, respectively), whereas forwards experienced significantly more collisions than backs (75.1 ± 64.1 cf. 37.6 ± 18.8). CK concentration peaked at 12 h and remained significantly elevated up to 60 h post-match (p < 0.05). Large decrements in countermovement jump (CMJ) and small to moderate decrements in repeated plyometric push-up (RPP) performance were evident at 12 and 36 h post-match. Well-being questionnaire (WQ) score was significantly decreased up to 36 h post-match (p < 0.05), specifically large increases in perceived muscle soreness were found at 12 and 36 h. Duration (r = 0.8), total distance covered (r = 0.79) and efforts performed over 18 km·h-1 (r = 0.78) were strongly associated with CK concentration. High intensity accelerations (r = 0.47) and decelerations (r = 0.45) were significantly associated with CK concentration. Total collisions and repeated high-intensity effort (RHIE) bouts were associated with decrements in RPP (r = -0.49 and r = -0.51, respectively), CK concentration (r = 0.56 and r = 0.63, respectively) and perceived muscle soreness (r = -0.52 and r = -0.48, respectively). The findings suggest duration of match-play, high intensity running and collisions experienced were the strongest predictors of fatigue following elite rugby league match-play.
    • Physicians’ attitudes towards human papillomavirus vaccination programme: A systematic review

      Fallows, Stephen; Franco, Maria F. (University of Chester, 2011-12)
      Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is a newly introduced vaccine against cervical cancer in adolescent girls. Uptake of the vaccine will be dependent on parental acceptability and physician recommendation. To review physicians’ attitudes towards HPV vaccine and identify factors that may influence their intent. Also, to determine if there is any difference in the views of different medical specialties with regards to HPV vaccination. Articles were obtained through computerised searches of CINAHL, Pubmed, Web of Knowledge, Cochrane Library and Science Direct, as well as manual searches in recognised scientific journal. Articles involving physicians’ attitudes, knowledge and behaviour towards HPV vaccine published from 2007 onwards. One reviewer independently assessed relevant studies, risk of bias and data extraction. Twenty nine studies were included in the final review. Twenty four studies used survey for data collection and five studies used interview. Majority of the studies revealed positive view of physicians towards HPV vaccine with high intent to provide vaccination. Barriers identified against HPV vaccination include the following: cost and reimbursement issue; providers concern about vaccine safety; parental concern over vaccine’s safety and efficacy; age is considered too young for vaccination; issue that HPV vaccine could promote sexual activity, recommendation of HPV vaccine from organisations; communication related to sexuality; need for education and other factors like dosing, patient overload, boys should also be vaccinated and parental religious beliefs. No significant difference was noted between specialties with regards to their view about HPV vaccine. Physicians’ role is important in the promotion of HPV vaccine with their high intent and positive attitudes. In order for the HPV vaccination programme to succeed, vaccine should be made available and affordable especially to countries with high incidence of cervical cancer.
    • The Physiological and Perceptual Responses to Cycling Exercise in a Fully Immersive Virtual Environment

      Highton, Jamie M.; Nowlan, Gerard (University of Chester, 2016-09)
      An innovative piece of digital technology which has recently come to the attention of sports scientists as a potential ergogenic aid is the use of immersive virtual reality (VR) technology. Whilst the effects of VR on performance have begun to be explored, the physiological and perceptual responses to exercise when combined with VR remain relatively unknown. Accordingly, this study investigated both the physiological and perceptual responses to exercise in a fully immersive virtual environment viewed through a stereoscopic head-mounted display. Thirteen recreationally active males (n=12) and females (n=1) (age = 24.9 ± 4.6 y; body mass = 78.7 ± 6.3 kg; stature = 178.6 ± 3.7 cm; VO2max = 55.1 ± 7.1 ml·kg-1·min-1) completed a time to exhaustion (TTE) test under control (CON) and virtual reality (VR) conditions in a repeated measures randomized crossover design. Effect sizes (ES) and magnitude-based inferences were calculated for all variables between conditions using a predesigned spreadsheet (Batterham & Cox, 2006). TTE (ES = 0.78; ±0.37), enjoyment (ES = 0.85; ±0.49) and positive affect (PA) (ES = 0.78; ±0.65) were all greater in the VR compared to CON condition. HR and RPE, analyzed over a 6 minute isotime, were lower at minute two only (ES = 0.33; ±0.38) and (ES = 0.88; ±0.52) respectively, in the VR compared to CON condition. There were no changes in VO2 peak, b[La] and negative affect (NA) between conditions. The use of a fully immersive VR headset in combination with a traditional cycling task was shown to elicit improvements in TTE performance and increase affective responses and enjoyment of the exercise, likely due to a dissociative effect. These findings support the use of fully immersive VR in the exercise domain as an ergogenic aid.
    • The physiological and perceptual responses to cycling exercise in a fully-immersive virtual environment

      Highton, Jamie M.; Williams, Thomas (University of Chester, 2016-09)
      With recent advancements in technology, fully-immersive virtual reality (VR) is now fast emerging as the latest piece of equipment that may revolutionise the way in which athletes are able to train. However, as of yet, few have examined the perceptual and physiological responses to exercising in VR and the subsequent impact it may have on performance. Using a repeated measures randomised crossover design, thirteen recreationally active participants (age = 24.9 ± 4.6 y; body mass = 78.7 ± 6.3 kg; stature = 178.6 ± 3.7 cm; VO2max = 55.1 ± 7.1 ml·kg-1·min-1, P-VO2 =344.7 ± 49.7) completed a time to exhaustion test (TTE) at 80% of P-VO2 under a control (CON) and virtual reality (VR) condition, with a minimum of 48h between trials. TTE (ES = 0.78; ±0.37), enjoyment (ES = 0.85; ±0.49) and positive affect (ES = 0.78; ±0.65) were all greater in the VR condition compared to CON. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) increased similarly over time in both conditions with the exception of minute 2, whereby RPE was lower in the VR condition (ES = 0.88; ±0.52). There were no changes in VO2 peak, b[La] and negative affect between conditions. These findings provide evidence to suggest that during the early stages of high intensity activity fully-immersive VR has the potential to reduce RPE. Further to this, VR also appears to increase the enjoyment of exercise at a high intensity and therefore increase the motivation to continue exercising. Future research should continue to explore this rapidly developing technology.