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Online course

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

Demystify the ageing process and how our everyday behaviours and choices 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

Why join the course?

With the wealth of seemingly contradictory information in the media about healthy living, sport and ageing, this free online course will demystify the ageing process and show you how our everyday behaviours and choices affect our long-term musculoskeletal health.

Over three weeks, we’ll answer three key questions:

1) What is musculoskeletal health?

We’ll identify the components of the musculoskeletal system and explain how they fit together. You’ll 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.

2) How can exercise benefit the musculoskeletal system?

We’ll explore the impact of physical activity – and inactivity – on bones, muscles and joints. You’ll find out why exercise can be 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.

3) How can diet benefit the musculoskeletal system?

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.

Learn with specialists in musculoskeletal health

The 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.

Each institution holds world-leading expertise in areas of musculoskeletal ageing and together, within the CIMA collaboration, their expertise cover a broad spectrum of musculoskeletal health.

Study with us

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.

Download video: standard or HD

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?

In this course we looked at three key questions:

  • What is musculoskeletal health?
  • How can exercise benefit the musculoskeletal system?
  • How can diet benefit the musculoskeletal system?

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
  • Provide an explanation as to how ageing affects the musculoskeletal system
  • List 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 on bones, muscles and joints and what this means to everyday life
  • Explore the impact of physical inactivity on bones, muscles and joints and what this means to everyday life
  • Explore through case studies why clinical care teams make decisions about physical activity as they do
  • List the most important nutritional factors required for a healthy musculoskeletal system and identify good dietary and other sources of essential nutrients;
  • Discuss how ageing and other factors affect nutritional needs and dietary habits for the musculoskeletal system;
  • Understand and discuss how scientists and health professionals determine dietary requirements;
  • Discuss the impacts of musculoskeletal ageing on society and quality of life

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.

Endorsed by

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.

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.

Buy a personalised, digital and printed certificate and transcript

You can buy a Certificate of Achievement for this course — a personalised certificate and transcript in both digital and printed formats, to prove what you’ve learnt. A Statement of Participation is also available for this course.

Certificate of Achievement + transcript £39.00

Statement of Participation £24.00

Estimate prices in preferred currency

Charges to your account will be made in GBP. Prices in local currency are provided as a convenience and are only an estimate based on current exchange rates.