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Physical activity for the ageing athlete: the importance of maintaining musculoskeletal health
  1. Mark E Batt
  1. Correspondence to Professor Mark E Batt, Centre for Sports Medicine, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham NG7 2UH, UK; mark.batt{at}

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The term ‘athlete’ has many differing definitions, connotations and stereotypes. For many years, sport and exercise medicine physicians have treated every patient as an athlete to a greater or lesser extent with associated functional, work, sport and social expectations and demands. As we age alongside our patients, we empathise with their changing needs and abilities. People are living longer, but many do so in poor health and with reduced quality of life due to the presence of chronic diseases. Ageing is associated with multi-system decline, including musculoskeletal conditions. In the UK, the greatest cause of pain and disability are musculoskeletal conditions such as osteoarthritis and back pain, and these remain under-recognised as a public health priority.1 The presence of two or more long-term ailments (physical or mental), so called multi-morbidity, is increasingly common in patients from both high-income and low/middle-income economies. Indeed, in the UK, there are 15 million people living with one or more long-term condition accounting for 50% of general practitioner appointments, 70% of hospital bed days and 70% of health and social care …

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  • Funding The author is part-funded by Arthritis Research UK, 10.13039/501100000341 (20194).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.