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BASES Webinar – The burden of load carriage in occupational performance: translating science into practice

July 22 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm UTC+0

BASES the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences


The BASES Occupational Performance Special Interest Group (OPSIG) aims to promote evidence-based practise amongst those undertaking research and/or scientific support with occupational groups in physically demanding job-roles. This includes but is not limited to military, security, fire, rescue and first responders. It draws on a number of specialist areas including: physiology, strength and conditioning, physical training, psychology, biomechanics, injury and rehabilitation. In this second webinar delivered through the OPSIG we will discuss the physiological demands and impact of carrying torso-borne load carriage on physical performance as part of occupational tasks. We will start the webinar by overviewing the various load carriage activities experienced in the UK by tactical occupations such as the police service, fire and rescue service, and military. The webinar will start by looking at the origins of load carriage through to current practice. We will focus specifically on torso-borne load carriage in military personnel and provide examples of practices (e.g. wearing of body armour, carrying of equipment in daysacks) along with their impact on the wearer. As part of this we will explore the range of masses that military personnel are required to carry on the torso and the impact this has on the pulmonary and cardiovascular systems, the ability to undertake both physical and cognitive tasks as well as the potential injury risk. Lastly, we will highlight the knowledge gaps in this area and the future challenges facing such tactical occupations.


Nicky Armstrong:
Nicky is a Senior-Principal Physiologist at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). Over the last 23 years, she has worked on a range of projects focused on optimising the performance of military personnel. Nicky’s research has informed the design of load carriage and personal protective equipment used by the UK Armed Forces. This work included chairing a NATO panel with defense experts from eleven nations, with the aim of “reducing the burden of the dismounted soldier”. The panel’s work was recognised with a Human Factors and Medicine Panel Excellence Award. Nicky currently chairs an international research project which aims to improve the design of load carriage and other equipment for women.
Mitch Lomax:
Mitch is an Associate Professor in Pulmonary Exercise Physiology at the University of Portsmouth. Her research primarily focuses upon breathing limitations during exercise and methods used to ameliorate them including respiratory muscle training and respiratory muscle warm-ups. Her work has included exercise responses in both normoxic and hypoxic environments, disease states, and sports performance.  Her recent research has examined the occurrence and consequences of breathing muscle fatigue and pulmonary and ventilatory demands and constraints experienced by UK military personnel during load carriage activities and the impact of these on the performance of military specific tasks.



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