Injuries in Sedentary Individuals Enrolled in a 12-Month, Randomized, Controlled, Exercise Trial

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The risk of musculoskeletal injury with the introduction of moderate-to-vigorous exercise in sedentary adults is not well established. The purpose of this report is to examine the effect of a 12-month exercise intervention on musculoskeletal injury and bodily pain in predominately overweight, sedentary men (n = 102) and women (n = 100), ages 40 to 75 years.


Participants were randomized to a moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise intervention (EX) (6 d/wk, 60 min/d, 60% to 85% max. heart rate) or usual lifestyle control (CON). Participants completed a self-report of musculoskeletal injury and body pain at baseline and 12-months.


The number of individuals reporting an injury (CON; 28% vs. EX; 28%, P = .95) did not differ by group. The most commonly injured site was lower leg/ankle/foot. The most common causes of injury were sports/physical activity, home maintenance, or “other.” In the control group, bodily pain increased over the 12 months compared with the exercise group (CON −7.9, EX −1.4, P = .05). Baseline demographics and volume of exercise were not associated with injury risk.


Previously sedentary men and women randomized to a 12-month aerobic exercise intervention with a goal of 360 min/wk reported the same number of injuries as those in the control group and less bodily pain.

Campbell is with the Dept of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Foster-Schubert is with the Dept of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Xiao, Duggan, and McTiernan are with the Division of Public Health, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA. Alfano is with the Office of Cancer Survivors, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD. Cadmus Bertram is with the Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, CA. Irwin is with the School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT.