prof. Rita Santos-Rocha, Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior – Polytechnic Institute of Santarém, Portugal

Prof. Rita Santos-Rocha, born in Lisbon, Portugal in July 1971, began her professional career in the fitness industry as a gymnastics and fitness instructor, in 1989, in Portugal.

After graduating in Sport Sciences and MSc in Exercise & Health, with the Faculty of Human Kinetics (FMH) – Technical University of Lisbon, she became a professor at the Sport Sciences School of Rio Maior (ESDRM) – Polytechnic Institute of Santarém ( In 2006, she obtained a PhD in Human Movement, specializing in Health & Fitness (FMH) and since 2007, she has been a researcher of the Neuromechanics of Human Movement group of the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of Human Performance (CIPER) of FMH, where she is involved in several research projects.

Subjects: Exercise Testing & Prescription, Public Health & Physical Activity, and Research Methods in Sports, with emphasis on Exercise in Pregnancy & Postpartum.


Main research interests: Planing and analyzing the effects of exercise programs on health, lifestyle, fitness, and gait parameters of pregnant and postpartum women, and other populations.

Publications and projects can be found in and

Rita also is Vice-President of the Portuguese Association of Exercise Physiologists ( Member of the Professional Standards Committee of EuropeActive (2010-2020), and she was involved in most of the Technical Expert Groups of the EuropeActive’s Educational Standards for the Fitness Sector.