Physical Activity and Sport in Advanced Age: Is it Risky? – A Summary of Data from Articles Published Between 2000-2009
Background: The benefits of physical activity in old age are well documented. However, studies have shown that older adults are insufficiently active. One of the reported barriers to physical activity is fear of injuries. Objective: To review available data on the rate of injuries related to sport and purposeful physical activity in advanced aged. Methods: A systematic review of reports published in English, identified by searching four data bases and the reference lists of reviewed articles. Eligible reports were full articles in a peer-reviewed journal, and the study report had to include the injury rate of individuals aged 45 and above and the kind of activities that led to the injury. Seven reports met the inclusion criteria. Results: Studies on injuries in advanced age are scarce, and lack information on the rate of injuries relative to the extent of exercise. The rate of injuries occurring during physical activity in advanced age, based on existing data, is very low compared to other ages. The injury rate of men is almost twice that of women. Men tend to get injured while engaging in ball games and bicycling, while women mostly during exercise. The most frequent reported injuries in the general population including older adults are strains and sprains, followed by fractures in the lower and upper extremities. Conclusions: Since older adults are being encouraged to increase their habitual physical activity even beyond the basic recommended guidelines, more studies are needed to assess the risk of injuries relative to the extent of exercise.
Keywords: Advanced age, recreational-related injury, sports-related injury, risk of sport-related injury, Physical Activity, review, extent of exercise, habitual physical activity
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