Finding ways to get people exercising and gaining fitness is what I love most, and my current work is with stroke survivors. Knowing that low levels of fitness and physical activity are associated with an increased risk of secondary stroke, I am passionate about finding practical ways that people who have had a stroke can access exercise that works for them.
My research is about finding out the optimal dose of exercise to improve cardiorespiratory fitness for people after stroke. I am also testing whether it is feasible to provide supervised exercise programs via videocalls (telehealth), so that people who have had a stroke and have difficulty accessing community-based fitness programs can exercise safely at home.
I am interested in whether getting fitter from taking part in an exercise program leads to people being more active overall, especially given the high incidence of fatigue reported by people recovering from stroke.
My background is as an applied sports scientist. I have always been super-interested in how the body responds to training, and started my research as an undergraduate student looking at how to minimise delayed muscle soreness (the soreness that starts 24 hours after exercise). This type of soreness is a normal part of the adaption process the body goes through every time you return to training after a lay-off, or when training loads are increased dramatically (Spoiler alert: try ice even before you feel sore!).
I then became involved in sports science research at a Masters level, and combined my love of training (as a wanna-be national level rower) with science, and researched in the areas of rowing biomechanics and physiology, long and triple jump biomechanics, and performance analysis in many sports, working with athletes as they prepared for Olympic and Commonwealth Games and supervising post-graduate students.
As I became older and perhaps wiser, I began thinking about how much better it would be if I could instead direct my research effort to help people who were not necessarily striving for perfection, but were just looking for better health. Exercise has always been a vital and necessary part of my life, and I want to be able to share my knowledge, and research ways that people who are not as fortunate as the athletes I have previously worked with can access and enjoy exercise, and at the same time improve their health.
My ultimate goal in research would be to provide enough evidence to convince the medical profession that exercise trumps medication for so many of our chronic diseases, and to convince people who are at risk of developing chronic diseases due to poor lifestyle choices that exercise is actually enjoyable, and not a punishment.
Dr Margaret Galloway was awarded a first class honours degree in Physical Education from the University of Sydney. After teaching and coaching for a few years she returned to Sydney University to complete a Masters degree in Applied Science (Exercise and Sports Science). She then went on to have a long and successful career as a Sports Scientist, specialising in Biomechanics and Performance Analysis, working at the NSW, Irish, and Australian Institutes of Sport. During this time, she was also the Sports Science coordinator for Athletics Australia, and on the Australian athletics and rowing teams for a number of world championship and Olympic Games campaigns.
Dr Galloway completed her doctorate in 2019 within the Priority Research Centre for Stroke and Brain Injury at the University of Newcastle (School of Health Sciences) and HMRI, studying low dose exercise after stroke, and determining the feasibility of delivering fitness sessions via telehealth to people after stroke. She is now managing a follow up trial of a diet and exercise intervention for secondary prevention of stroke.
My research focus in the future will be in the area of exercise and its role in chronic disease prevention and management.