The human body is made to move, and physical activity is a requirement for lifelong health. But exercise-related injuries are a significant concern few people think about until it’s too late. Even a mild sprain can sideline an athlete for weeks, and a sports related injury can be debilitating for an older adult. “Researcher think a lot of people, especially those in their 20s and 30s, are interested in doing a lot of exercise but they’re not really thinking about injuries,” says Dr. Brian Werner, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist at the University of Virginia.
Sports related injury
Running, for example, is among the most popular forms of exercise in America. But up to half of all runners are injure each year; according to a 2010 study in Current Sports Medicine Reports. “I’m a long distance runner myself; but it’s a high impact form of exercise and it’s not optimal for people trying to avoid getting hurt,” Werner says. Also, many runners tend to overdo it. When it comes to running’s longevity benefits, researchers have find that running two or three times per week at a slow or moderate pace is optimal.
Walking, meanwhile, is with both long life and a reduce risk for medical relate expenditures; according to a 2011 study in BMJ Open. A recent study find that brisk walking is especially healthy. “Walking is an outdoor activity that can include spending time with other people, and they think any exercise that combines those two things is going to be very healthy,” says Dr. James O’Keefe, a cardiologist and medical director of the Cardio Health & Wellness Center at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute.
Yoga also garners some shout-outs as a low-risk, high-reward form of physical activity. “It has to do correctly and with good supervision, especially when just starting out; but they think yoga offers a great combination of flexibility and strength training,” says Dr. Steven Struhl, an orthopedic surgeon at NYU Langone Health. Flexibility is a “neglected” component of proper health and fitness, he says. “It improves balance and reduces stiffness, which leads to strains or injury.”
Type of exercise every day
The first tip may induce some yawns. But experts say a moderate approach to any sport or workout is a good way to avoid getting hurt. “Overtraining leads to a lot of injuries,” says Yost. If you’re playing the same sport or doing the same type of exercise every day and especially if you’re pushing yourself hard you’re asking for trouble.
Taking it easy at the start and slowly working your way up to more intense workouts is another safety measure. “A lot of people start off too heavy or with too much volume,” O’Keefe says. If you’re intent on running a half-marathon, for example, sign up for next year’s not this year’s and try to mix in some other non-running forms of exercise (swimming, yoga) to build your strength and endurance.
Finally, don’t neglect your core. “You get your power from your core, and if it’s weak, you tend to overuse your arms or legs, which leads to injury,” Struhl says. Pilates classes can improve your core strength. So can gym machines that target your upper and lower back, obliques, and abdominal muscles, he says. All that said, if you’re looking for safe; healthy activities that will lower your risks for injuries as well as for disease and mortality easy on your body activities like walking, yoga and swimming are great options.