Active living and injury risk

Int J Sports Med. 2004 Apr;25(3):209-16. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-819935.


The purpose of this study was to get reliable insight into injury risk in various commuting and lifestyle activities, as well as recreational and competitive sports. A cohort of 3 657 persons was randomly selected from the 15- to 74-year-old Finnish population. Ninety-two percent (n = 3 363) of the subjects accepted to participate the one-year follow-up, record all their physical activities that lasted 15 min or more, and register all acute and overuse injuries that occurred during these activities. To collect the information, the study subjects were interviewed by phone by the trained personnel of the Statistics Finland three times in four-month intervals. The individual injury risk per exposure time was relatively low, ranging from 0.19 to 1.5 per 1 000 hours of participation, in commuting and lifestyle activities including walking and cycling to work, gardening, home repair, hunting and fishing, and, in sports such as golf, dancing, swimming, walking, and rowing. The risk was clearly higher in squash, orienteering, and contact and team sports, such as judo, wrestling, karate, rinkball, floorball, basketball, soccer, ice hockey, volleyball, and Finnish baseball ranging from 6.6 to 18.3 per 1 000 hours of participation. However, the highest absolute number of injuries occurred in low-risk activities, such as gardening, walking, home-repair, and cycling, because they are performed so often. In conclusion, individual injury risk per exposure hours is relatively low in commuting and lifestyle activities compared to many recreational and competitive sports. However, at a population level, these low-to-moderate intensity activities are widely practised producing a rather high absolute number of injuries, and thus, preventive efforts are needed in these activities, too.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors