Passionate about life-long learning and the active lifestyle he’s pursued in Hawke’s Bay, Philip Shambrook is researching the comparative benefits of different doses of exercise in our increasingly crowded days.
Formerly from the UK, Philip and his wife Louise moved to the Bay eight years ago after finding living in Auckland stressful and ill-suited to achieving balance between work demands and sport.
Enthusiastic off-road runners, the couple started the Hawke’s Bay Trail Running series in 2011 and relaunched the Kaweka Challenge as the Kaweka Mountain Marathon.
Philip, who gained his engineering degree and MBA while serving as an officer in the Royal Air Force, enrolled for a Bachelor of Recreation and Sport at EIT, where he acted as a mentor and tutor for many of his classmates.
Completing the degree, he promptly enrolled for EIT’s newly-launched Master of Health Science programme, finishing that mid-this year.
“I loved doing my master’s and found EIT absolutely terrific. I want to get this out to Bachelor of Recreation and Sport students, do this while you are young. The programme is great, there’s no doubt about it.”
Maintaining the academic pace, Philip has taken up a scholarship offered by La Trobe University, and is now based in Victoria, Australia.
“I honestly didn’t have any expectations when I applied,” he says of the scholarship. “At 58, I felt I was too old to be considered. But, as in the past, I decided if you don’t take that step forward you can never go back. That’s the maxim I’ve always believed in.”
Based in Bendigo, he is undertaking a three-year research project for his PhD, exploring the link between doses of exercise and people’s responses to the various lengths of exercise sessions.
Large doses of exercise don’t appeal to many, he points out. But with a clear relationship between activity and health, “we need to be looking at ways to package the exercise in a more palatable way”.
The research is aimed at establishing whether exercising in small doses throughout the day yields similar benefits to the minimum recommendation of 30 minutes of moderately intense activity a day for at least five days a week.
“What if we were able to show that three 10-minute bouts or six five-minute bouts or randomly accumulating 30 minutes or more of exercise during the day would yield similar benefits to 30 minutes of continuous exercise?”
Philip says an ever-increasing global epidemic of obesity and metabolic dysfunction is imposing a massive financial strain on health budgets and negatively impacting on millions of lives.
“Might we be able to encourage more people to increase their activity levels and improve their health?”
The Shambrooks are keen that this region remain their home and to that end, Phillip is commuting between Australia and Hawke’s Bay where Louise is business manager for a Taradale medical centre.
“It’s an opportunity I couldn’t say no to,” he says of the research project. “I want to see if I can make a difference to those who may find it challenging setting aside time to exercise.”