09:06am Wednesday 16 October 2019

Lightening the load of ageing

Isaac Selva Raj, who has just graduated with a PhD in Human Movement from RMIT University, has been investigating the benefits of weight training for older people.

His research has also involved assessing a combination of weight training and stretching exercises.

Dr Selva Raj hopes his research will assist in developing more effective weight training programs for older people, and a greater understanding of the benefits of weight training for people as they age.

The longer term prospects include reduced incidence of diabetes, sarcopaenia and cardio-vascular disease in older people. In short, longer and healthier lives.

Aside from the innate value of this work, Dr Selva Raj confessed that he has also found the research enjoyable.

His research project involved working with older citizens visiting a gym regularly.

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with the participants in this project, especially their carefree nature and great sense of humour,” he said.

“This has made me interested in working further with this population.”

Dr Selva Raj was optimistic that his research to date would open up useful avenues for further research.

The research had helped him secure a position for himself as a post-doctoral fellow in Victoria University’s Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living, where he is investigating how weight and aerobic training for healthy older adults may help improve thinking abilities.

People affected by Alzheimer’s disease are also being studied.

“I’d like to carry on the line of research started in my PhD, and I’ve started some collaborations with researchers in Queensland to do that.”

The future is looking positive, although it has not all been plain sailing to reach this point.

“My experience of going through a PhD was largely positive, as I had very supportive and approachable supervisors.

“Although there were tough periods, I was able to get through them with the help of my supervisors, undergraduate research assistants, fellow PhD students and honours students.”

Originally from Singapore but now settled in Melbourne, Dr Selva Raj also hopes to teach about what he has learned in future.

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