Dr Claire Fitzsimons

Lecturer in Physical Activity for Health

Background

I have a degree in Physiology (2001) and a PhD in Exercise Physiology in Older Adults (2006) from the University of Edinburgh. Upon completion of my PhD I was appointed as the Project Co-ordinator of SPARColl (Scottish Physical Activity Research Collaboration) at the University of Strathclyde (2006-2009) and following this as a Lecturer in Human Movement Sciences (2009-2011).

In 2012 I was appointed as a Chancellor's Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh (2012-2018). My research fellowship was focused on sedentary behaviour in older adults. Time spent sedentary has been linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. My fellowship explored how older people perceive sedentary behaviours, the health risks and testing out possible interventions.

I am currently a Lecturer in Phyiscal Activity for Health in the Phyiscal Activity for Health Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh. I am currently working on a number of research projects with both older adults and stroke survivors to encourage reducing and breaking up sedentary behaviours.

Undergraduate teaching

I teach on the Exercise Prescription for Rehabilitation  on the Applied Sports Science programme

Postgraduate teaching

I  teach on the MSc Physical Activity for Health.

Physical Activity for Health (MSc/PgDip/PgCert)

Areas of interest for supervision

I supervise student projects with a particular focus on older adults and sedentary behaviour and/or physical activity

Current PhD students supervised

Divya Sivaramakrishnan: Evaluating the health benefits of incorporating yoga into the physical activity plan of older adults, Year 3

 

Past PhD students supervised

Tessa Strain: Adherence to the current physical activity guidelines in Scotland, graduated July 18

Research summary

My research is focused around supporting adults and clinical populations (particularly stroke survivors) to reduce and break up their sedentary time. I am interested in the development of interventions including perceptions of older adults and stroke survivors on their sedentary behaviours, measurement of sedentary time and how best to feedback to people on the amount of time spent sedentary.

Current research interests

I am currently working on a number of research projects which cluster under the topic of sedentary behaviour: 1. Improving sedentary behaviour and physical activity in community-dwelling older adults: development feasibility testing of a novel technology-supported intervention. Sit Less and Move More: funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government (£299k, Nov17-Feb20), I am a co-investigator on this study which is exploring the development of an intervention to support older Scottish adults to sit less and move more and achieve all components of the current physical activity recommendations. This project is exploring the use of a novel device called an Activator to feedback to study participants on their upright time and steps. 2. Too much sitting in extended bouts in stroke survivors: A qualitative study to inform novel interventions. Funder: Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government. £225k. July 2015 – January 2019 (study paused Dec17-Aug18 ). Principal Investigator: guided by the COM-B model of behaviour change this study is interviewing stroke survivors about their sedentary behaviours to inform the development of future interventions. 3. Development and evaluation of strategies to reduce sedentary behaviour in patients after stroke and improve outcomes. Funder: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grant for Applied Research. £3 Million. October 2017 – September 2024. Co-investigator, co-work package lead. Lead Institution: University of Leeds. This programme of research called RECREATE will develop and rigorously test an intervention which aims to reduce and break up sedentary time after stroke.

Past research interests

1. A feasibility study to identify an effective method to provide feedback and remote monitoring on sedentary behaviour in stroke survivors. Funder: Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation, £39k, April 2016-April 2018. Principal Investigator. Lead institution: University of Edinburgh. 2. Seniors USP: Seniors - Understanding Sedentary Patterns. Funder: MRC Lifelong Health and Wellbeing Initiative. £992k. January 2014 – October 2017. Co-investigator, co-work package lead, member of the Dissemination Advisory Group. Lead Institution: Glasgow Caledonian University.

Knowledge exchange

1. Intervening on sedentary behaviour in older adults: from results to practice. Funder: University of Glasgow Impact Acceleration Account. £20k. October 2016 – June 2017. Co-investigator. Lead Institution: University of Glasgow.

Affiliated research centres

Current project grants

Too much sitting in extended bouts in stroke survivors: a qualitative study to inform novel interventions. Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government, £225k, July 2015 - January 2019. Principal Investigator

Development and evaluation of strategies to reduce sedentary behaviour in patients after stroke and improve outcomes. Funder: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Programme Grant for Applied Research. £3 Million. October 2017 – September 2024. Co-investigator, co-work package lead. Lead Institution: University of Leeds.

Improving sedentary behaviour and physical activity in community-dwelling older adults: development and feasibility testing of a novel technology-supported intervention. Funder: Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government. £299k. November 2017 – February 2020. Co-investigator. Lead Institution: University of Glasgow

Past project grants

A feasibility study to identify an effective method to provide feedback and remote monitoring on sedentary behaviour in stroke survivors. Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation, £40k April 2016 - September 2017, Principal Investigator

Seniors USP (Understanding Sedentary Patterns). Medical Research Council, £985k, March 2014- July 2018, co-investigator

ESRC Impact Award, University of Glasgow in collaboration with Paths for All to develop sedentary behaviour information resources specific to older people. October 2016-March 2017, co-investigator

Institute for Academic Development, University of Edinburgh, £3,690, Co-investigator to develop interdisciplinary research and teaching in ‘Medicine & Science in Sport & PA’ 2014-2015

Proof of concept trial for the Vibrotactile activPAL™ (VTaP™) as a means to feedback on sedentary behaviour, Strathclyde Links, University of Strathclyde, £9,000, January 2010 – October 2010, co-principal investigator

The feasibility of a pedometer-based walking programme in combination with a physical activity consultation in Scottish adults aged 65 years and over in a primary care setting, Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government, £130,358 and NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde R&D £27,124, Nov 2008-December 2010, co-investigator

Single Campus Project – Smart Move?, University of Strathclyde Dragon’s Den, £14,000, June 2008, co-investigator 

View all 44 publications on Research Explorer