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Online course

The Musculoskeletal System: The Science of Staying Active into Old Age

Demystify the ageing process and learn how our everyday behaviours are likely to affect our long-term musculoskeletal health.

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

The Musculoskeletal System: The Science of Staying Active into Old Age

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Why join the course?

This free online course has been developed by the MRC-Arthritis Research UK Centre for Integrated research into Musculoskeletal Ageing, a collaboration between the Universities of Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle. On this course, you’ll learn why our bones, joints and muscles function less well as we age, and discover how best to live well as we get older.

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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsI don't want to sound rude, but let's face it, you're not getting any younger. Then again, neither am I, or any of us in fact. And in this era of long lives and comprehensive healthcare, the art is in not just reaching old age, but staying active and healthy into it. Estimates suggest that the number of over-65s worldwide will rise to 1.5 billion in 2050. It is absolutely crucial that we ensure people are not just living longer, but living healthy, independent lives.

Skip to 0 minutes and 41 seconds Here at the Centre for Integrated research into Musculoskeletal Ageing, CIMA researchers investigate why our bones, joints, ligaments and muscles function less well as we age, and how age-related decline of the musculoskeletal tissues and age-related clinical disorders, such as osteoporosis and arthritis, can be improved or prevented. In this free online course, academics from the Universities of Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle will join together to present their research on how best to live well as you approach and experience old age. With the wealth of seemingly contradictory information in the media about healthy living, sport and ageing, we will demystify the ageing process and show you how our everyday behaviours and choices affect our long-term musculoskeletal health.

Skip to 1 minute and 42 secondsWe'll identify the components of the musculoskeletal system and explain how they fit together. You'll find out how ageing affects it, learn about common age-related musculoskeletal disorders, and discuss the impacts of such disorders on society and quality of life. We'll explore the impact of physical activity - and inactivity - on bones, muscles and joints. You'll find out why exercise can be both good and bad, not just for cardiovascular health, but also for your musculoskeletal system as you age. We'll examine, through case studies, why clinical care teams make decisions about physical activity as they do.

Skip to 2 minutes and 20 seconds You'll extend your knowledge of the role of nutrition in musculoskeletal health, learn which foods provide important nutrients for our muscles and bones, and understand how dietary recommendations for musculoskeletal health change as we age. Finally, we'll hear from some of our scientists about how they're investigating the effects of ageing and nutrition on the health of the musculoskeletal system. This course would be ideal for anyone interested in studying the musculoskeletal system, for patients with musculoskeletal health issues, or their carers, or anyone who feels that they might be getting older and want to know how they can prepare for it by staying healthy and active.

What topics will you cover?

  • What is musculoskeletal health?
    Identify the components of the musculoskeletal system and explain how they fit together. Find out how ageing affects the musculoskeletal system; learn about common, age-related musculoskeletal disorders; and discuss the impact of such disorders on society and quality of life.

  • How can exercise benefit the musculoskeletal system?
    Explore the impact of physical activity – and inactivity – on bones, muscles and joints. Find out why exercise can be good and bad, not just for cardiovascular health, but also for your musculoskeletal system as you age. Examine, through case studies, why clinical care teams make decisions about physical activity as they do.

  • How can diet benefit the musculoskeletal system? Extend your knowledge of the role of nutrition in musculoskeletal health, learn which foods provide important nutrients for our muscles and bones, and understand how dietary recommendations for musculoskeletal health change as we age.

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Identify the key components of the musculoskeletal system and explain how they fit together.
  • Explain how ageing affects the musculoskeletal system.
  • Describe common age-related problems of the musculoskeletal system.
  • Discuss the impacts of musculoskeletal ageing on society and quality of life.
  • Explore the impact of physical activity and inactivity on bones, muscles and joints.
  • Identify the most important nutritional factors required for a healthy musculoskeletal system.
  • Discuss how ageing and other factors affect nutritional needs and dietary habits for the musculoskeletal system.
  • Explain how scientists and health professionals determine dietary requirements.
  • Identify good dietary and other sources of essential nutrients.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for patients, carers and people who lead active lives and would appreciate knowing how their lifestyle is likely to affect their long-term health. It may also inspire you to study or research musculoskeletal ageing. No previous biological experience is needed.

This course will also be ideal for those from a non-biological background who may be interested in studying or researching musculoskeletal ageing at postgraduate level. For more information see our MRes and PhD training pages on our web site.

Who will you learn with?

Lesley Iwanejko

I am research scientist and lecturer in genetics at the University of Liverpool. In addition to science I enjoy writing and reading poetry, playing golf and opera singing.

Peter Grabowski

I am a Registered Nutritionist (Nutrition Science) and Course Director of the Masters in Medical Science in Human Nutrition at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Michael Trenell

I am a Professor of Metabolism & Lifestyle Medicine and National Institute for Health Research Senior Fellow at Newcastle University.

Who developed the course?

The University of Sheffield is one of the world’s top 100 universities with a reputation for teaching and research excellence.

The University of Liverpool is ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide.

A thriving international community of over 20,000 students. The university’s mission as a world-class civic university means it applies its academic excellence to real-world challenges.

Endorsed by

Free:

  • Access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • No access to course tests
  • No certificate

Upgraded:

  • Unlimited access to the course, for as long as it exists on FutureLearn (this includes access to articles, videos, peer review steps, quizzes)
  • Access to course tests
  • A Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course

Find out more

Get extra benefits, upgrade this course. For $54 you'll get:

Unlimited access

Upgrading will mean you get unlimited access to the course.

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  • Take the course at your own pace
  • Refer to the material at any point in future

If you’re taking a course for free you have access to the course for its duration + 14 days, regardless of when you join. If you upgrade the course you have access for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn.

Access to tests

When you upgrade you’ll have access to any tests during the course.

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  • Validate your learning
  • Ensure you have mastered the material
  • Qualify for a certificate

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to take any tests and score over 70%. You don’t get access to tests if you choose to take a course for free.

Certificate of Achievement

Upgrading means you’ll receive a Certificate of Achievement when you complete the course.

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  • Prove your success when applying for jobs or courses
  • Celebrate your hard work
  • Display on your LinkedIn or CV

To receive a Certificate of Achievement you need to mark 90% of the steps on the course as complete, and score over 70% on any course tests.

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