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The Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH) is collaborating with the Metropolitan Police on an exciting research project called Operation Chiron (Op Chiron) focused on health, fitness and wellbeing in policing.   

The study will be investigating the effects of exercise on a wide range of health and wellbeing markers, from brain activity and cognition, to quality of sleep and overall health.  

Dr Flaminia Ronca, ISEH Sport Scientist, is heading the study, which comprises of a team of more than 30 researchers from different faculties across UCL.  

Dr Ronca said “This is an incredibly exciting project. We have the privilege of working with police officers from a variety of roles, from detectives, to response, to firearms. All the officers who volunteered for the study are very keen, it’s a wonderful experience to be working with them and such an honour to be able to contribute to their health and fitness. We are so pleased to see how keen the Met is to support the health of their staff, who are putting their lives on the line to keep our city safe.”

The research team expect to get their first results later this year and will be working with leaders in the Metropolitan Police to inform their fitness strategy.  

Prof. Paul Burgess, from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, is also leading on the Op Chiron team, and is developing ground-breaking technology to measure brain activity via fNIRS. Together, Dr Ronca and Prof Burgess hope to determine the impact of exercise on cognition, bringing a whole new dimension to the world exercise and neuroscience.    

Why is it called Operation Chiron?  

Chiron is a Greek mythological figure, known for his wisdom, his superior knowledge in medicine and excellent teaching ability. He mentored Achilles into becoming the strong young warrior we all know him for.  

As Exercise & Medicine specialists at the ISEH, we are putting our knowledge to the service of our police officers, to help them improve their health, wellbeing and performance. We are not only testing the officers, but we are training them and offering them advice on how to stay fit and healthy.