Injuries in sedentary individuals enrolled in a 12-month, randomized, controlled, exercise trial

J Phys Act Health. 2012 Feb;9(2):198-207. doi: 10.1123/jpah.9.2.198.


Background: 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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

Trial registration: NCT00668161.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Musculoskeletal System / injuries*
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Self Report
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*

Associated data