David Waugh’s fascination for the benefits of exercise has morphed from the personal to the professional.
The Otago Polytechnic learner has embarked on a Master of Applied Science (Exercise and Health), his postgraduate research including an examination of the interaction between physical tasks and mental wellbeing in the experience of work-related musculoskeletal pain.
David’s interest in the effects of exercise on health and wellbeing was initially sparked by his participation in non-competitive bodybuilding for a number of years.
Although he has since stopped bodybuilding, David’s passion continues to grow.
“I am always fascinated by the potential of exercise to improve physical health and function, as well as promote mental wellbeing. I have always found it a terrific stress reliever!
“I’m using veterinarians as my population of interest, as it is a profession understood to experience a high incidence of both work-related musculoskeletal pain as well as exposure to work-related stress.”
Raised in Lower Hutt as well as Palmerston North, David moved to the South Island several years ago after graduating with a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science from UCOL (Palmerston North).
“My most noteworthy jobs since graduating were technical content development for two very popular New Zealand-based fitness related brands, as well as starting my own personal training business.”
The latter role required David to provide exercise physiology services to a clientele that mostly comprised athletes or individuals with specific health-related concerns. These included chronic pain issues, “which seemed to wax and wane in intensity depending on how stressed particular clients were feeling,” he reflects.
“The more tense these individuals, the more pronounced their pain and symptoms.
“I developed a real fascination with how the mind interacts with the body, and how exercise may potentially aid in the treatment of both mental health disorders and the experience of chronic pain.”
After spending several years away from study, David completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Sport and Exercise Medicine (with distinction) last year through Otago Medical School.
“After completing this qualification, I knew I wanted to do a Master’s.
“I discovered Otago Polytechnic’s Master of Applied Science and soon realised it was exactly what I was looking for.”
Based in Oamaru, David is “distance-learning”. He travels to Dunedin about once a fortnight to catch up with his postgraduate supervisor as well as attend occasional lectures.
“The Master’s allows me to focus on Exercise and Health as a main topic, and potentially be eligible for future registration with the New Zealand Register of Clinical Exercise Physiologists — a profession I would love to be part of.”