Paul Mackie

Paul Mackie - Exercise Scientist & Rehab Researcher
Research Program:
Research Topics:

What are your research interests?

  • Stroke rehabilitation. When we have used activity trackers in our research, we have found that people who have had strokes spend less time being active than people who have not had a stroke, even if they are able to walk just as well as before their stroke. We are researching how we can support people to get more active and spend less time sitting. The focus of my research is to work out how we can use small bouts of activity as a type of medicine for improving health after stroke.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension): High blood pressure is identified as the main risk factor for having a stroke and as well as having another stroke. I want to understand the effects of breaking up sitting time after stroke to reduce blood pressure and to improve the health and risk after stroke. 

My main research areas of interest are:

  • How often do shorts bursts of activity need to be done to improve blood pressure after stroke? Eg. 3 activity breaks a day or 8 activity breaks a day.
  • The effect of different levels of activity bursts (e.g. 10 minutes of activity or 40 minutes of activity) needed to improve blood pressure in those who have had a stroke.
  • Are those who have had a stroke able to do the amount of activity need to improve blood pressure after stroke?

Why did you get into research?

As an exercise scientist from the United Kingdom, I originally completed my research in exercise and health, looking at the effects of aerobic exercise on energy intake. However, I knew the benefits of physical activity and exercise could be moved to those who have experienced a severe event, such as a stroke or heart attack, and used to improve the health and wellbeing of these people.

In stroke, there is limited work and understanding on the benefits of reducing sitting time on improving health and wellbeing. I decided to pursue my research in the area of stroke to better understand how we can improve, and make simpler, the recovery process after stroke.

What would be the ultimate goal for your research?

The ultimate goal of this current project is to define exactly how much less sitting will improve blood pressure in those who have had a stroke. Overall, it is important for both people with stroke and health advisors to understand the results of this work. It is important to know that people with stroke are given the right advice on physical activity to ultimately improve their health and wellbeing. Also, I would like to prove that there are simple, safe, and effect ways of including physical activity after stroke to help improve the health in those living with stroke.


Paul Mackie is currently undertaking a PhD in Physiotherapy at the University of Newcastle and investigating the effects of breaking up sitting time after stroke (BUST-BP-Dose). He is conducting his research at the Hunter Medical Research Institute in the stroke recovery research team.

Paul completed his Undergraduate degree and Master of Science (by Research) at the University of Bedfordshire in the United Kingdom. His undergraduate degree was in Sports and Exercise Science and he looked at the effects of using a foam roller on the flexibility and performance of swimmers. His Master of Science (by Research) degree focused on the effects of 7 days aerobic exercise on energy intake and gut hormone responses. He wanted to investigate whether healthy individuals stay in an energy deficit, and ultimately lose weight, or if they compensate and eat more.

Paul’s PhD is looking at the effects of frequent, short activity breaks on improving blood pressure after stroke. Since starting his PhD, he has also looked at the effects of these short activity breaks on the plasticity of the brain.

Future Focus

Keeping active is a vital part to living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. My ambitions and dreams are to get everyone involved in physical activity and exercise and living a healthier lifestyle, especially those who find it more difficult because of a stroke or severe event. I also want to find ways to make engaging in physical activity easier for those who have experienced a stroke, so they can then gain the health benefits of physical activity and exercise.

Specialised/Technical Skills

  • Exercise testing
  • Stroke
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical activity
  • Blood pressure
  • Secondary prevention
  • Clinical exercise physiology
  • Enzyme linked assays