Myth: Older adults have a higher risk of injury when starting to exercise

This study indicates that older adults taking up exercise are not at increased risk of injury versus younger age groups.

Aspirus Healthy Aging Service Line

Sometimes the fear of getting hurt prevents older adults from starting an exercise program. However, new research shows this is not the case.

The research findings were published last week by the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, conducted by the University of Western Ontario London.

The study looked at 12 months of data for exercise-related injuries in previously sedentary community-dwelling older adults following an exercise intervention. Here’s a summary of the study’s methods, results and conclusions with 167 older adults participating.

A questionnaire developed for use in older adults was administered to document self-reported injuries. Linear regression analysis was conducted to identify covariates related to injury outcomes.

Results summary: 23 people (14%) reported injuries. 41% of injuries were to the lower extremities, where the most common type was overuse muscle strains (32%, n=7). Overexertion was the most common cause of injury (n=9) and walking accounted for half of the…

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