Running on science

9 October 2018

Dr Kim Hébert-Losier and Body in Motion Managing Director Mal Shivnan.

The University of Waikato Adams Centre for High Performance and healthcare provider Body in Motion are pleased to announce a collaboration that will allow runners of all skill levels to take advantage of specialised technology that’s usually only available to elite athletes.

The 3D technology involves a full-body running analysis, the gold-standard for quantifying human movement non-invasively. The service can help runners to improve their technique, prevent and rehabilitate injuries.

Senior lecturer and research scientist Dr Kim Hébert-Losier is excited about working with Body in Motion. “We believe such collaborative opportunities are essential in increasing the visibility of the high-quality work and facilities available from the Health Sport and Human Performance team based at the Mount, and implementing research into practice,” she says.

Body in Motion Managing Director Mal Shivnan is equally enthusiastic about the collaboration. “We offer a first-class physiotherapy service but we’re not specialists in sports science. Combining our expertise to deliver evidence-based best practice to support better health outcomes for our community was a no-brainer,” he says. Body in Motion has clinics throughout the Bay of Plenty as well as interests in the Waikato region.

In terms of how the technology works and what the benefits to runners are, Dr Hébert-Losier explains that state-of-the-art motion cameras are used to track markers on runners at an extremely high sampling rate. “The comprehensive analysis can help runners of all skill levels to improve their technique, which of course means they’re less likely to get injured and, if they’re injured, inform their rehabilitation process,” she says.

Runner Fiona Ellison and research scientist Dr Kim Hébert-Losier.

Seasoned runner Fiona Ellison is currently taking advantage of the 3D technology at the Adams Centre and is hopeful that what she has learned from it will help her achieve her goal to run for New Zealand. “I’m a distance runner but I’ve had down time due to injuries that didn't need to happen,” she says. “Kim explained to me that the testing highlighted that I tend to strike the ground with my knees in a straighter position and that if I increase my cadence that should sort it out. I was so impressed with the detail captured from the testing.”

While the short term goal of the University of Waikato and Body in Motion collaboration is to make the 3D technology available to all runners, the long term goal is to have an ongoing established service and opportunities to undertake clinical-based research projects with injured and rehabilitating populations. Mr Shivnan sees this initiative as indicative of the exciting growth taking place in Tauranga. “I’m proud of the fact that such cutting edge technology is now available locally to our community, and is another advantage of having a tertiary institution based in our city,” he says.

The University of Waikato Adams Centre and Body in Motion are offering the specialised running service one half-day a week from now until Christmas. Members of the public are invited to book a full-body 3D motion running analysis by emailing or phoning 07 927 3330.

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