Lecturer promotes exercise for all ages
Peter Herbert is a fitness advisor well accustomed to working with the best of the best. And, today, at Trinity University College, Carmarthen, he finds himself surrounded by state-of-the-art equipment which can rival fitness centres at sporting temples throughout the UK.
“We really do have some of the most sophisticated testing equipment for athletes in the UK,” beamed Peter, an ever-youthful sixty-something who has been involved in the business of fitness for more than 40 years. He is director of the Human Performance Laboratory and a lecturer in exercise physiology at Trinity. His credentials firmly establish him as one of the leading lights in the field of sports fitness sciences. For example, Peter was fitness adviser to Llanelli RFC (1985 – 2000) and the Wales Rugby Team between 1992 – 1994 and 2000 – 2002. During these periods, the Scarlets of Llanelli won numerous national league and cup finals, reaching the European Cup semi-finals twice and beating Australia, the then World Champions, in 1993.
Peter has worked with the armed services, including members of the elite forces and he has trained boxers who have won World and Commonwealth medals. He also practices what he preaches and for many years he was one of the top world-ranked sportsmen competing at Concept 2 indoor rowing.
He is a man with a message – that exercise matters for everyone, no matter how old.
On Monday (December 7), he was giving that message to members of Carmarthen Rotary Club, who visited Trinity to view the work of Peter’s human performance laboratory. “My theme for the Rotarians was ageing and exercise and I think it is always important to stress the health benefits of exercise as you move through the different stages of life. The Rotarians were given a view of some of the sophisticated testing equipment in the ‘lab’. “The sort of kit we have here at Trinity matches that used by the British Olympic Federation to monitor their elite competitors,” Peter said. “It allows us to monitor performance in real time. You can see heart-rates, changes in lung capacity, carbon dioxide levels. It really is a breath-by-breath analysis. We have had some of the current Scarlets rugby squad put through their paces here, as well as other experienced local athletes. The equipment is obviously of great value to the students of the sports department here at Trinity. But we are also able to meet requests from other people to use the facilities. There is a charge, but we do try to accommodate people who are interested in getting a top-of-the-range statistical analysis of their fitness.”
Peter’s work in spreading the gospel about the Trinity ‘lab’ goes way beyond talks to local service clubs like Rotary. “It is crucially important for us to involve A level students with an interest in physical education,” he said. “Nowadays, the study of physical education has developed in quite a theoretical way. “But, when we get A level students here, we can show them the reality of how things work. “For example there is a V02 Max formula which applies to someone’s aerobic capacity. Here, A level students can see that formula being applied in real-time. “The students can also collect statistical data which they can then analyse later back in the classroom. We have had students from about nine different schools here already, including some from Pembrokeshire. And the feedback we have received from the students has been tremendous. This is, of course, a wonderful facility and a huge benefit to Trinity, but it is also great to see it helping the wider community, not just the university.”
Peter said the work at the ‘lab’ was also important in providing teachers of physical education with a refresher on their work. “We have had most of the physical education instructors from Pembrokeshire here and I know word is spreading very fast among the teaching community in south-west Wales.
Anyone interested in the work of the human performance laboratory at Trinity, can contact Peter on 01267 676767.
School of Sport, Health and Outdoor Education
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