These Common Activities Have the Highest Death Rates

We aim to be active in order to live longer. And we try to find hobbies that we are the most interested in that we can do on a regular basis. Unfortunately, some activities and hobbies have the opposite effect, and put your life in danger more than you may want to admit. Thinking about trying an activity that may be on our list?

Here are, in no particular order, some common activities with the highest death rates. (Page 9 has one of the highest fatality rates year after year.)

Rock climbing

Rock Climbing

This sport is a dangerous one. | Monika Skolimowska/AFP/Getty Images

Climbing boasts a handful of health benefits. And thanks to indoor gyms, is a more accessible activity than ever. but for those taking part in the outdoor version, the risk goes up quite a bit. According to Teton Gravity Research’s roundup of most deadly activities, one in every 1,750 mountain climbers die every year. They also report that the higher the climb, the greater the risk.

Next: Danger in the water.



Boating isn’t as safe as it looks. | ViewApart/iStock/Getty Images

Sounds like a leisurely activity, right? Not much reason to fear for your life? In fact, it’s quite dangerous. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there were  4,463 accidents that involved 701 deaths, 2,903 injuries in 2016. 80% of the victims drowned — although most were reportedly not wearing life jackets — and in roughly 77% of the incidences, “the operator did not receive boating safety instructions.”

Next: Your favorite winter pastime is more dangerous than you think.



There are several dangers skiers have to be aware of. | Marcin Wiklik/iStock/Getty Images

You may be thinking: How can this vacation-friendly activity have such a high death rate? According to a 2012 report from the National Ski Areas Association, an average of about 41.5 people have died skiing or snowboarding per year over a 10 year span. Equipment issues and lack of safety instructions are common factors. That being said, the instance of injuries has reportedly decreased.

Next: This pastime has health benefits — but is also quite dangerous.


woman cycling outside

You have to watch out for loose rocks, cars, and other cyclists. |

Cycling has many positives. But it also means a greater chance of visiting the ER. NPR reported back in 2015 that the number of cycling related injuries doubled between 1998 and 2013, and that the number of deaths has followed a similar trend. Head and spine injuries are major causes.

Next: This unexpected addition to our list is more costly than you’d expect.

Owning a dangerous pet

Wild Pet

Yes, this is a real concern. | Tal Cohen/AFP/Getty Images

Yes — owning a pet most certainly counts as a hobby and an activity. And depending on the kind of pet you have, you could be putting yourself at risk. According to Live Science, there were 75 deaths between 1990-2011 due to owning wild animals as pets. 18 of those deaths were reportedly from caused by reptiles, which also carry a high amount of viruses.

Next: This exercises dangerous nature can lead to concussions.



Ouch. | Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

Taking a kick-boxing class will help you work up a sweat. But your risk goes up when you get a sparring partner — or get into the ring. According to Teton Gravity Research, one in every 2,200 boxing participants dies from taking part in this activity every year. Head and neck injuries reportedly remain the main causes.

Next: Hanging ten isn’t as chill as you would expect.



It isn’t as carefree as it looks. | Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

This sport has varying levels of danger mixed into it — most of which are difficult to determine. According to the National Weather Service, there were a reportedly 93 surfing fatalities in the United States in 2017. Natural conditions were the most prominent cause of death, with rip currents causing more than 60 of the fatalities.

Next: While we’re discussing water activities…

Whitewater rafting


There are several hidden dangers in the river. | Akruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP/Getty Image

This popular vacation activity isn’t for anyone looking to kick back and relax. Plus, it can also be quite dangerous. American Whitewater reported back in 2007 that there is anywhere from six to 10 deaths per year from whitewater rafting. While inexperience and a lack of guidance often plays a part, they reported that roughly “25% to 30% of the fatalities on commercial raft trips each year are related to heart conditions or heart attacks.”

Next: And, even more danger in the water…

Scuba diving

Scuba Diving

This fun activity can be dangerous. | Emily Irving-Swift/AFP/Getty Images

Here’s something to consider the next time you see a commercial for a vacation getaway that boasts beautiful scuba diving. University of Michigan biochemist Larry  “Harris” Taylor, Ph.D. tells us that there are “about 150 fatalities per year in scuba diving in the US.” points to equipment failure, procedural errors, and even a diver’s poor health as risk factors.

Next: The most deadly activity?

Hang gliding


Make sure you practice safety while hang gliding. | Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

Perhaps it isn’t all that big of a surprise that this outdoor activity comes with a list of hazards. Nevertheless, it is possibly the most dangerous activity there is — even more so than skydiving. (We’ll get to those stats a little later.) In 2010 alone, there were reportedly 32 accidents due to hang gliding, seven of which resulted in fatalities.

Next: Another life-threatening exercise.


man jumping out of a plane skydiving

Jumping out of a plane is as scary as it gets. |

It’s no wonder you have to sign a long waiver before partaking in this gravity-defying activity. According to, there were a reported 47 skydiving fatalities in 2017. While the numbers are lower than they were in previous years — 71 deaths in 2004 — the sport remains in credibly dangerous. Fatal errors most commonly occur upon landing.

Next: Don’t be fooled by some of the stats surrounding this extracurricular.

Bungee jumping

Bungee Jumping

Human error can be a huge factor. | Omer Messinger/Getty Images

Yes, this activity is quite terrifying. But of all the extracurriculars on this list, is it as dangerous? According to there “is a higher likelihood of death when you drive at speeds of more than 100 mph than there is in bungee jumping.” That being said, there is still a high margin of human error still makes this activity extremely hazardous, with

Next: A risky exercise for all ages

Contact sports


These sports can lead to injury. | Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images

You don’t have to be a professional athlete to partake in contact sports. But despite the cardiovascular and team-building benefits, engaging in contact sports comes at a price. There were reportedly 120 sports-related deaths of young athletes in 2008-2009, according to a 2013 report. Concussions and cardiac arrest were among the most costly causes of death.

Next: A new sport, that is very dangerous.



Only the brave give this sport a try. | MBolina/iStock/Getty Images

This form of urban fitness, made popular by films like Casino Royale, is just as dangerous as it looks. The nature of the “sport” means that participants have little to no padding on, resulting in plenty of gashes and broken bones. And while there are no formal stats to show the exact number of parkour deaths, it is widely regarded as a deadly activity.

Next: The most deadly thing on our list.

Binge drinking


Yes, this can be deadly. | Monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

Yes, this counts as an activity, and it’s a costly one at that. In fact, it has the highest mortality rate on our list! According to information compiled by USA Today, six people die from binge drinking every day. Their finding also reveal that the bulk of victims are men, and that they are post-college age.

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