Describe the life course of the musculoskeletal system to include:
Activity is vital to muscle and bone health and the early years are an ideal time to develop these. A whopping 90% of bone mass is created during the first two decades of life, so regular activity is essential to maximise bone density. Low bone density in adults is a risk factor for osteoporosis and the complications that go along with it.
Muscle strength accelerates for both boys and girls post-puberty as part of growth. However, strength is hugely influenced by exercise, particularly by lifting weights.
However, regardless of age, all individuals should regularly perform weight-bearing, weightlifting, and high-impact activities as long as the type of activity is appropriate for their stage of development, skill level, and physical condition and experience.
Bone mass changes graph
Many changes occur in the body, from childhood to adulthood. During the growth spurt, growth hormones, testosterone (in males) and oestrogen (in females) cause a change in body shape. These changes can occur rapidly, and trainers should be aware of how growth and development are influenced by exercise or physical activity.
Physical activity has been shown to positively influence bone mass development, muscle strength, ligament and tendon strength and body composition (to include reducing fat mass). It has also been shown to improve mood and self-esteem.
However, there is a common myth that high impact and resistance training activities stunt growth and halt natural development due to overloading the vulnerable and weaker bone points.
The early years are the ideal time to develop bone health as 90% of bone mass is created during the first two decades of life. As low bone density in adults is a risk factor for osteoporosis, weight-bearing and resistance training activities in children have been shown to have a positive effect on bone density and encourage their future health. However, some caution is advised, and adult loading and training programmes are not suitable for the developing child, who will generally have low skill levels and be emotionally under-developed.
Exercise implications for children and adolescents
Pregnancy is a time of significant change. Although it is doubtful a pregnant woman will take up exercise if she is not already participating in an exercise programme, trainers need to be aware that activities need to be adjusted to accommodate the changes during pregnancy.
The following changes will occur:
Exercise implications during pregnancy:
Exercise implications after pregnancy
Women can return to exercise after their midwife check. This usually occurs at 6-8 weeks with normal birth. For caesarean sections, it usually takes place after 12 weeks.
Getting older is inevitable; however, scientists now understand the ageing process and the benefits of maintaining a lifelong exercise habit. An increasing body of evidence supports the theory that participation in a regular exercise program positively affects the musculoskeletal system to reduce or prevent several conditions associated with ageing.
Exercise implications for older populations
Strength training can help offset age-related loss of muscle mass, which decreases by approximately 15% per decade in the sixth and seventh decade. Strength training is also suitable for maintaining bone density, showing a decline in both males and females from the fourth decade. After the fifth and sixth decade, women are significantly affected following the menopause and generally experience a more significant bone loss than men.
Aerobic and endurance training can help maintain body weight and improve various aspects of heart and lung function. Both strength and aerobic exercise can positively affect health and reduce disease likelihood.