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"I like to move, move it"

Professor Valerie Gladwell

Thursday, 31 March 2022,
18:00 to 19:30
University of Suffolk, Waterfront Building, Ipswich

The lecture commences at 18:00 with teas and coffees from 17:30


Valerie’s talk will explore how physical activity (including sport) not only increases physical health by being active, but can also improve wellbeing by connecting, helping you learn, volunteer and taking notice part of the 5 ways to wellbeing. Huge volumes of physical activity are not needed but there are a decreasing number of people meeting the physical activity guidelines, with a large proportion not undertaking 30 minutes per week and spending a lot of their time sedentary. Although, contrary to this, there is a proportion who are doing more exercise than ever by taking part in extreme events.

It works best for most people if the physical activity is embedded within their day and becomes part of what they do “normally”. Embedding movement and breaking up sedentary time is even more important post-covid with changes in the way we are working.  Strength and balance activities are often forgotten and the guidance on how much to do is not clear.

Valerie will take a personal walk through her work to date and will entwine it with personal experiences of how physical activity has shaped her research and her life.


Professor Valerie Gladwell has recently taken up the post of Director of the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Suffolk. Valerie is extremely passionate about enhancing lifelong health, helping people to achieve, thrive and flourish by utilising the five ways to wellbeing: be active, take notice, give, connect and learn. Her particular focus is the use of physical activity, whether by deliberate activity or by stealth.   Her particular interest is decreasing physical inactivity throughout the community, by enhancing and developing assets in the community and by creating active environments both indoors and out, with a special interest in how nature can help increase wellbeing and physical activity. Her research has investigated how the environment shapes physical activity, particularly the natural environment ("Green Exercise"). The workspace is another important environment on which her research has focussed. Her work has explored the use of physical activity to break up sedentary time with a particular focus on balance and strength (the “forgotten” guidelines), as well as using nature within the working day to reduce stress and potentially improve sleep. One aspect of her work is to explore the balance of the autonomic nervous system using heart rate variability. For healthy ageing and to reduce non-communicable disease, she believes that a pragmatic whole system approach is needed. She works with a range of stakeholders and partners and her preference is to work as a team. She has undertaken research and evaluation with a range of businesses, trying to co-design where she can.

She is very enthusiastic about making a difference to her local community and has lived in Suffolk for over 20 years. Her children are involved in many sports clubs, in which she has taken active roles. She is now a member of the Active Suffolk Board.

In cricket, she holds a level 1 and 2 coaching certificates, and was Chair of Hadleigh cricket club Junior section for 6 years. She is particularly keen to promote girls in sport, especially in cricket, and set up the girls’ and ladies' sections. 

She is a keen athlete and is aspiring to be a good triathlete with a range of races planned in 2022 including an IronMan in Italy and a marathon in Brighton.