Athletic people & excercisers constantly getting injured (plus long term impact)

This obviously varies by person, but it seems obvious to me that people who are very active, whether in atheltics or major workout people, are injured at a much higher rate than the more sedentary people. In fact not only is Sports Medicine an entire medical specialty ostensibly devoted to sports injuries, but ISTM that this field has subsumed the entire treatment of such injuries however incurred, which suggests that the majority of such injuries are incurred in the course of sports and excercise.

In addition to mishap-type injuries that occur in the course of sports and excercise, it’s also well known that too much excercise has long term negative impact on some joints (particularly knees, and especially in the case of joggers).

My question is: it’s also well known that many or most people don’t excercise enough and the sedentary lifestyles are damaging to their hearts and all sorts of other negative impacts. So people are constantly being urged to excercise more. But has anyone ever attempted to assess the average downside of a more active lifestyle and “throw that into the mix” (so to speak)? I’ve never seen this done.

For this I think it is important to distinguish that most sports injuries are not life threatening. Breaking a leg will heal and, usually, have no long term effects.

Being sedentary vs being athletic is more about living to 65 or 85. A broken leg will not affect your lifespan. Being sedentary will.

Of course, there are some very serious accidents that can happen when being athletic but, overall, moderate exercise will be much more beneficial health-wise than being sedentary. Also depends a lot on what you are doing athletically. Some things are more dangerous than others.

To get any health benefits from exercise, the advice is to exercise moderately, regularly.

You’re not supposed to do an Iron Man for the health benefits.

There’s too many variables to attribute the injuries merely to the fact that one is exercising. I certainly wouldn’t recommend against exercise just because of that risk. It could be that the athletes who are more likely to be injured could be using improper technique. Maybe those who are more prone to injury might be eating an unhealthy diet, which could also raise their risk of injury. Some might be overtraining. The risk is there, but there are ways to minimize it, and the benefits far outweigh the risks.

Agreed. I am a data point supporting this. At 62, I am a lifelong gym rat. I haven’t had a lot of injuries, but I do have considerable long-term impacts.

I had to give up running a few years ago because of some torn cartilage in one knee. I now do fast walking on an inclined treadmill for cardio exercise.

I have considerable arthritis in both shoulders, and I’ve had surgery to repair both rotator cuffs. As a result, many free-weight exercises are off-limits to me (basically anything involving pushing–bench press, military press, etc.) I continue to exercise those muscle groups using weight machines: the lack of cartilage makes balancing free weights problematic, but machines mitigate that problem.

If I could go back in a time machine, I would advise my younger self to not lift so heavy, especially on exercises involving the shoulders and knees. I never really did any competitive sports (other than a brief fling at competitive bodybuilding in my 20s), and it seems that people who practice competitive sports are more likely to be injured. So it feels like a dumb decision to have pushed myself too hard at solo exercise.

But I still think that moderate exercise is a good thing for staying healthy and able-bodied into old age. (It’s possible that I would have had some of these conditions even if I hadn’t lifted. According to my sports medicine doctor, 30% of people have at least one partially torn rotator cuff by the age of 70.)

The main trick, I guess, is to keep the exercise moderate.

It also depends on what kind of exercise you’re doing, not just its amount. For example, swimming is often recommended as an exercise for the elderly or those with joint problems, because it’s low-impact (much less so than, say, jogging).

I have no data to support this, but I’ll bet those who exercise are less likely to trip over a curb, fall down stairs, etc.
Also, it’s known that weight-bearing exercise leads to stronger bones, which are harder to break.

That’s very true. Competitors are always pushing the limits of what their body can do, so the chances of them overdoing it and injuring themselves are higher. People who just doing for recreation generally don’t push themselves that hard.