Along with a balanced diet, getting fit has become the go-to way to ward enough a number of health conditions, as well as help people slim down and tone up.
Exercise has been attributed by the NHS to reducing risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by 50 per cent, as well as lowering overall risk of death by 30 per cent.
However, a new ten-year study has highlighted a dramatic increase in fitness-related injuries – including a 55 per cent growth in hip replacements.
A hip replacement is a major operation where a doctor surgically removes a painful hip joint and replaces it with an artificial joint often made from metal and plastic components.
It is undergone by 70,000 people a year in the UK, usually due to developing weaker bones from increasing age.
Experts warn that the rise in exercise-related hip replacements is avoidable if people take care not to over-train and their risk of injury.
In the study, researchers at Bupa looked at more than a million procedures in men and women,
They found a significant increase in women who were experiencing injuries that were once the preserve of professional athletes and sportsmen, like Roger Federer, David Beckham and Jessica Ennis-Hill.
Previous studies have found that women are more likely than men to become injured during physical activity, regardless of how fit they are.
“Men and women move differently during exercise, which is one of the many reasons which may lead to more injuries in women,” explained Dr Steve Iley, Medical Director at Bupa UK.
“Landing rigidly or changing direction quickly with one foot instead of two can cause problems.
“We have seen a rise in treatment for shoulder, hip, foot and other injuries amongst women which highlights the fact that someone can injure themselves even if they take part in a non-contact activity such as running.”
The research revealed that of the 24 procedures where there had been a rise in incidence over past decade, half were related to exercise and associated with activities such as running, tennis and gym workouts.
As well as a 55 per cent increase in hip replacements, these included more treatments for shoulder injuries – up by 88 per cent.
Additionally, there was a 46 per cent jump in women needing forefoot injury treatments – including for the tarsals and metatarsals – while 41 per cent more people needed ACL reconstruction in their knee.
Experts found that there was a particular spike in women being injured at the same time as the This Girl Can campaign was encouraging millions to do regular exercise and sport.
“Exercise is great for your health, preventing illness and long-term health conditions so it is great that more women are taking it up. We want to encourage people to be aware of the potential risks and ways to guard against them,” said Dr Iley.
“While techniques to repair sports injuries are now very sophisticated, athletes should also never over-estimate the importance of a warm up and warm down.
“Shoulders and hips are areas of the body that are most commonly engaged when doing sport – whether running, playing hockey or going to the gym.
“With more women taking up sports and exercise these areas are most likely to be injured due to wear and tear related injuries.
“Ensure strength and flexibility training is incorporated into your workout and don’t over train – your muscles need time to recover.
“Women can try to mitigate this by changing direction with both feet and sinking deeply when landing from a jump, with knees slightly apart.”