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J Clin Med Res. 2017 May;9(5):375-381. doi: 10.14740/jocmr3001w. Epub 2017 Apr 1.

Impact of Physical Activity in Cardiovascular and Musculoskeletal Health: Can Motion Be Medicine?

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA.
Raritan Bay Medical Center, Perth Amboy, NJ, USA.
St. Georges University School of Medicine, True Blue, Grenada, West Indies.
Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Physical activity is a well-known therapeutic tool for various types of medical conditions, including vasculopathic diseases such as coronary artery disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Additionally, increased physical activity has been proposed as a therapy to improve musculoskeletal health; however, there are conflicting reports about physical activity potentially leading to degenerative musculoskeletal disease, especially osteoarthritis (OA). Additionally, although physical activity is known to have its benefits, it is unclear as to what amount of physical activity is the most advantageous. Too much, as well as not enough exercise can have negative consequences. This could impact how physicians advise their patients about exercise intensity. Multiple studies have evaluated the effect of physical activity on various aspects of health. However, there is a paucity of systematic studies which review cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health as outcomes. Therefore, the purpose of this review was to assess how physical activity impacts these aspects of health. Specifically, we evaluated the effect of various levels of physical activity on: 1) cardiovascular and 2) musculoskeletal health. The review revealed that physical activity may decrease cardiovascular disease and improve OA symptoms, and therefore, motion can be considered a "medicine". However, because heavy activity can potentially lead to increased OA risk, physicians should advise their patients that excessive activity can also potentially impact their health negatively, and should be done in moderation, until further study.


Cardiovascular health; Musculoskeletal health; Physical activity

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