Musculoskeletal pain is a common complaint, especially as age encroaches. A recent study in the September 19 issue of Arthritis Research & Therapy (2005; 7 [6], 1263–70) found that older adults who exercise consistently over a long period of time experience about 25% less pain than their sedentary counterparts.

Researchers followed more than 800 runners and inactive people in their 50s and 60s for 14 years. In looking at results from annual health questionnaires, the investigators found that subjects who exercised vigorously—engaging in activity that caused them to sweat and raised their heart rates above 120—at least 6 hours per week experienced less musculoskeletal pain than those who were inactive. Study authors concluded that “morbidity associated with aging can be reduced by participating in regular aerobic activity.”