Ilona Mc Mullan
After graduating with a BA (Hons) from Middlesex University in Money, Finance and Banking I spent over 15 years working in various market research, product development, and customer service roles within the technology sector. Whilst working full time I completed degree in Psychology BSC (Hons) through the Open University and then went on to complete a MSC in Health Psychology through Ulster University. I have also worked on health psychology related research projects where I worked as part of the NI team responsible for data collection for the Health & Diet Survey 2015, as well as the team piloting the ‘Walk with Me’ project aimed at increasing physical activity in older adults. I then began my current PhD project in 2015 which explores the long-term relationship between physical activity and balance in free living populations. For example, the ageing process can adversely affect balance, but it’s effects may be modifiable and even reversible through physical activity. However, whilst research supports the short-term benefits of exercise, the long-term effects of PA on balance are not fully understood. It is hoped that by completing a systematic review along with secondary data analysis of longitudinal studies such as the Irish Longitudinal Ageing study (TILDA), the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), and the Northern Irish Cohort of Longitudinal Ageing (NICOLA) study that predictive models of balance and physical activity can be developed that will inform future interventions (e.g. fall prevention programmes) that are aimed at improving quality of life and reducing cost of care of older adults.