Versus Arthritis Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis
University of Nottingham

Life Course Impact: Transform (WP3)

Work Package Leads:

  • Jem Lawson (PPI Rep)
  • Nigel Arden (Oxford)
  • Carly McKay (Bath)

Working Group:

  • James Bilzon, Dylan Thompson and Keith Stokes (Bath)

Research Question:

Can the effects of sport and exercise on quality of life (QoL) across the life course be identified, with regard to musculoskeletal (MSK) health and physical, psychological and social wellbeing?  


In order for commissioners and the public to make informed decisions about lifestyle advice and treatment, it is imperative that they are aware of benefits, risks and cost-effectiveness of any intervention, including physical activity and exercise. Prior research, including our own studies, has shown some harm associated with participation in high-level sport, particularly involving MSK injury. Yet we know regular physical activity is life enhancing and thus we need balanced public health advice, appreciating the need for positive messages about sport, exercise and physical activity for MSK health, whilst acknowledging known risks. Adherence to an active lifestyle is challenging, particularly where pain may act as a barrier, thus we need to find the most effective strategies for motivating individuals to stay active for as long as possible in laterlife. The potential for sport and physical activity participation to enhance quality of life across the lifespan has been under-explored, and there is currently no measure available to assess the benefit of current or past sport participation on an individual’s QoL and MSK health. This program will:


1. Undertake a programme of research to assess the effect of sport and exercise participation on MSK health throughout the life course.

2. Use technologies to promote adherence to physical activity and targeted exercise programmes, achieving lifestyle change specifically to enhance MSK health.