Conducting exercise physiology research as a Fulbright Scholar while studying abroad in Venice, Italy was Robert Musci’s inspiration for his continued research focused on the positive correlation between exercise and healthspan longevity as people age. The research also looked at how urban environments influence health behavior.
Venice provides a unique environment to study physical activity because there are no automobiles, and walking is the most common transportation mode. According to previous research, middle-aged adult Venetians are the third (male) and fifth (female) most active middle-aged adults in developed or urban countries.
“The goal of the research I participated in was to provide evidence and present strategies to improve physical activity and reduce disability to augment health and quality of life in seniors in modern urban infrastructures,” said Musci, assistant professor of health and human sciences.
Musci joined Loyola Marymount University’s Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering in summer 2022 after serving the prior year as a visiting assistant professor in the same department.
As an exercise physiologist, Musci is interested in addressing how to help and motivate people to have a higher quality of living. Looking to apply exercise research into real-world intervention, he is currently focused on exploring how certain plant-based compounds could help target certain mechanisms of aging and how that might influence chronic diseases. “One question I have is how can we best modify exercise or prescribe exercise to improve health,” said Musci. “I also want to look at what is causing improvements [from exercise] at a cellular level that we can learn more about and design nutraceutical-based interventions to augment or enhance the cardiometabolic benefits of exercise.”
He plans to engage students in this important work. “Many LMU students will enter different specialties as healthcare providers and I want them to understand how important exercise is to patients’ health,” said Musci. “I will have opportunities for students to participate in my research, and I hope to establish volunteer opportunities to help high school students develop healthy attitudes towards exercise.”
Musci earned both a doctorate in human bioenergetics and a master’s degree in health and exercise science from Colorado State University, and a bachelor’s degree in health and exercise science from Wake Forest University. He currently teaches kinesiology and exercise physiology at LMU.
In his free time, Musci likes to travel and learn about different cultures and try new foods since he also likes to cook. As an avid runner, he is a shining example of the motto “practice what you preach.” “Much of our life experience is tied to our ability to move. When I visit a new place, I go for a run to experience and see the city in a different light,” said Musci. “Since we lose that fitness level as we age, exercise is currently the best method to maintain fitness. It’s a positive feedback loop—exercising helps me experience life and experiencing life through exercise helps me stay healthy longer and experience life longer.”