Physical Activity: It’s Safe for Almost Everyone
Most people are not likely to be injured when doing moderate intensity activities. However, injuries do sometimes happen. The most common problems are bone injuries. Even so, studies show that only one such injury occurs for every 1,000 hours of walking.Â Fewer than four injuries occur for every 1,000 hours of running.
Both physical fitness and total amount of physical activity affect risk of bone injuries. People who are physically fit have a lower risk of injury than people who are not. People who do more activity have a higher risk of injury than people whoÂ do less activity. So what should people do if they want to be active and safe? The best strategies are to:
- Be regularly physically active to increase physical fitness.
- Increase physical activity gradually over time. This minimizes injury risk from doing medium to high amounts of activity.
Key Guidelines for Safe Physical Activity
To do physical activity safely and reduce risk of injuries and other adverse events, people should:
- Understand the risks. Be confident that physical activity is safe for almost everyone.
- Choose to do types of physical activity that are appropriate for your current health goals.Â Some activities are safer than others.
- Increase physical activity slowly.
- Inactive people should â€œstart low and go slowâ€.Â Gradually increase how often and how long activities are done.
- Protect yourself by using appropriate gear and sports equipment. Look for safe environments and make sensible choices about when, where, and how to be active.
- Be under the care of a doctor if you have health problems. People with chronic conditions should consult their doctor about the types and amounts of activity appropriate for them.
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Choose Appropriate Types and Amounts of Activity
People can reduce their risk of injury by choosing appropriate types of activity. The safest activities are moderate intensity and low impact. They donâ€™t involve purposeful collision or contact.
Walking, gardening or yard work, bicycling or exercise cycling, dancing, swimming, and golf are activities with the lowest injury rates. Walking is a moderate-intensity and low-impact activity. Walking has a third or less of the injury risk of running.Â Running is a vigorous-intensity and higher impact activity.
Hit that perfect beat.
Dancing raises your pulse – a key to a healthy heart. Running and biking will do the same. Regular physical activity has many other disease-fighting benefits. It reduces your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, lowers your risk of developing cancer, and helps you prevent bone loss (osteoporosis), and maintain mobility and independence in later years.
The risk of injury for a type of physical activity can also differ according to the purpose of the activity. For example, recreational bicycling or bicycling for transportation leads to fewer injuries than training for and competing in bicycle races.
People who have had a past injury are at risk of injuring that body part again. The risk of injury can be reduced by performing appropriate amounts of activity and setting goals. Performing a variety of different physical activities may reduce the risk of overuse injury.
Source: Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans