Musculoskeletal exercise: Its role in promoting health and longevity

Gerard D'Onofrio, Jonathan Kirschner, Heidi Prather, David Goldman, Alan Rozanski

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Resistance training (RT) is an often ignored but essential component of physical health. The functioning of the musculoskeletal system declines with age, resulting in sarcopenia, loss of muscle strength and power, decrease in muscle flexibility and balance. Other pertinent age-related changes include decline in basal metabolic rate, increase in fat mass, and decrease in bone mineral density. Such primary aging can be accentuated by the concomitant presence of comorbid conditions, such as insulin resistance and diabetes, obesity, inflammatory conditions, and physical inactivity (PI). The latter is often promoted by the presence of musculoskeletal conditions, such as osteoarthritis, back pain, and osteoporosis, which are quite common in society. RT can diminish long-term joint stress, “resist” age-related physiological deterioration and improve health outcomes through its ability to increase muscle strength and mass, balance the distribution of forces within a joint, increase basal metabolic rate and bone density, reduce body fat and cardiac risk factors, enhance endothelial function, and promote cognitive function and psychological well-being. Accordingly, health providers should screen for PI, lack of RT, and mobility risks using short screening questions, and employ simple functional tests, when indicated, to evaluate patients for impairment in gait, muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. This review also provides general principles for initiating and conducting RT and provides general and specific examples of resistance training programs, which should be individualized for patients through the evaluation and guidance by appropriate health providers, physical therapists, and certified trainers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-36
Number of pages12
JournalProgress in Cardiovascular Diseases
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Exercise
  • Resistance exercise
  • Strength training


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