If, as we do, you advocate continuing participation in extreme and adventure sports past the age of 50, inevitably people of a negative disposition will attempt to counter the undoubted benefits of being active and sporty with the threat of the increased likelihood of injury.
To be truthful, the figures do support the notion that participation in these sports does increase the risk of injury by its very nature. While we in any case believe that the long-term benefits, including a reduced incidence of chronic conditions, far outweigh the short-term harm of acute injury, there is now news that strength training and balance exercises work extremely effectively at reducing the incidence of sports injury.
Researchers from Institute of Sports Medicine Copenhagen, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Copenhagen, Institute of Sport Sciences and Clinical Biomechanics University of Southern Denmark and Norwegian School of Sport Sciences conducted a study of 25 trials covering over 26,00 participants. They found a marked reduction in the incidence of injury in those who undertook strength training, balance exercises, proprioception (body and spatial awareness) training and combinations of these. The reductions applied to acute injuries and overuse injuries. The research was not able to find specific exercises and training regimes that were particularly effective against particular injuries.
Interestingly, no reduction in injuries was found as an effect of stretching, either before or after exercise.
The conclusions of the studies were as follows "Despite a few outlying studies, consistently favourable estimates were obtained for all injury prevention measures except for stretching. Strength training reduced sports injuries to less than 1/3 and overuse injuries could be almost halved."
So, there you have it. Go and do your sports, but do the preparation work in the gym, both to enjoy the sports more and do them better, and in order to avoid injury.