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High levels of physical inactivity, an increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as obesity and hypertension, and a drop in participation in school sports and high level sport performers, these are the themes driving the focus of research in PhASRec. The research focus area of Physical activity, sport and Recreation, found in 2009, strives to contribute, through appropriate research and community engagement, to a more physically active, healthy and winning nation. Our slogan is therefore: "Researching human movement: from the cradle to the grave"

PhASRec is a dynamic, multi-cultural research entity with expertise in the fields of motor control and development, exercise physiology, sport and exercise sciences, health promotion, prevention and rehabilitation of chronic disease and orthopeadics, recreation management and programming, therapeutic recreation, physical activity, obesity and anthropometry.

The research is structured within three research sub-programs. These programs are the physical activity subprogram, sport science subprogram and the recreation subprogram.

About us

PhASRec is the research focus area for Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation in the Faculty of Health Sciences on the Potchefstroom Campus of the NWU.  Research performed in PhASRec focus on the role of physical activity, exercise and recreational activities over the life span of humans for motor development, health, prevention and management of chronic diseases, orthopaedic injury and high performance in sport.

The results obtained from the research are applied in the training of human movement specialists that include biokineticists, kinderkineticists, sport scientists and managers of recreational programmes. Consequently the new knowledge that is generated is also used to address challenges faced by the community, the country, the continent and the world. It is also used to influence policy on physical activity related to the health and wellness of the nation.

PhASRec has three NRF rated researchers and an additional 11 researchers with doctoral degrees. The researchers from this entity are considered the leaders in the field of physical activity, sport and recreation based on the international and national standing they have in the field. This is evident through the citations in peer reviewed publications and the national media in electronic and printed format. Many of the researchers serve on the governing bodies of professional associations and serve as external examiners to various other universities in South Africa.


History of PhASRec

The research entity for Physical activity, Sport and Recreation was established in August of 2008. There were initially three NRF rate researchers, of which two were C2 rated and one Y2 rated. Only five researchers held a doctoral degree at the time. During the period the researchers have increased to 33 researchers with more than 50% doctorandi. Currently five researchers hold a NRF rating, with 4 at C2 level and one Y2. The research entity is currently in the second place with regards to the impact of the research published in the field of physical activity, exercise and sport science. Access to the latest technologies in data collection ensure that PhASRec research have doubled in the eight years since establishment. We currently have international agreements and collaborations with researchers from Australia, the USA, Europe and multiple African countries.


The strategic aims of PhASRec are:

  • To be leaders in the production of relevant research in the field of physical activity, sport and recreation in South Africa.
  • To disseminate knowledge gained with research locally and internationally in order to influence future policy.

VISION: To pursue research excellence in the understanding of Human Movement across the lifespan

MISSION: Dissemination of quality research on physical activity, sport and recreation across the lifespan with national and international relevance.


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