Getting to know Professor Peter Reaburn

Peter ReaburnThere is more than meets the eye when it comes to healthy ageing, and Professor Peter Reaburn is no exception. As Professor and Head of Exercise and Sports Science at Bond University’s Bond Institute of Health and Sport, he is an exemplar of a lifetime’s commitment to health and fitness. His athletic achievements parallel his professional ones: he is an academic, author, researcher, competitive swimmer, Surf Lifesaver and National Ironman Triathlete, to name a few.

With an abundance of knowledge and experience to share, Professor Reaburn will be doing just that, as he steps on stage as a keynote speaker at ACA’s Annual Conference in Hobart this October. His session will focus on masters athletes and the conclusive findings that highlight these individuals as paragons of successful ageing. He will discuss the age-related changes in sports performance, why such changes occur, as well as the measures that are necessary in preventing the deterioration in athletic performance and recovery.

Older masters athletes do recover less quickly than their younger counterparts and there is now conclusive scientific evidence behind why this is. Quite simply, “older athletes take longer to assimilate proteins”, Professor Reaburn adds. So, what can older masters athletes do in their biggest competition against nature, and how can they age successfully and keep performing at their best? At a physical level, he suggests they increase their protein, carbohydrate and nutritional intake, do active recovery, stretching and utilise compression activewear.

As he awaits this year’s conference, Professor Reaburn has his objectives in clear sight. He aims to help practitioners gain a better understanding of the older masters athletes; they “…are as dedicated and as committed as younger athletes and, therefore, are to be taken seriously”, he said. He also aims to teach practitioners to take a comprehensive approach when working with such individuals, in turn understanding the fundamental reasons for their engagement and motivation. He anticipates that attending practitioners will come to have a better understanding of this area; “…they’ll take away four or five strategies that they can use in their practice to better screen and work with older athletes”, he said.

Professor Reaburn agrees that a positive mindset, dedication and healthy lifestyle are some of the fundamental complementary factors that facilitate ‘successful aging’. He does, however, suggest the need to look beyond the periscope and learn from other countries and their advancements. He advocates for change not only at Federal Government level, but also at a societal level. That is, we need to work towards a cohesive approach that addresses the individual, public and governmental components of healthy aging. He cites the Netherlands and Canada as prime examples of this; here “…the government has created infrastructure,” he said of the aforementioned countries.

“If you put in footpaths and put in cycleways, people will use them; put in walking trails and mountain bike trails, people will use them, and that’s what we really need in Australia”, he added.

Professor Reaburn agrees with the need to move towards a proactive approach to health and ageing, moving away from the reactive paradigm that has previously governed the treatment, rights and access of ageing Australians.

“We are being reliant on doctors to fix our health, whereas all the evidence points to exercise as medicine”, he added.

With the conference approaching, we look forward to acquiring more knowledge on this subject and working together to abolish the stigma that is too often attached to ageing. It is individuals like Professor Reaburn that pave the way for a bright future for ageing Australia. We look forward to the growth and developments ahead, and the ongoing successful and positive ageing of the Australian and global population.

Join us in celebrating 'Positive Ageing’ at ACA’s Annual Conference in Hobart, 20-21 October 2018. For more information and to register visit the Conference Website.