Many of you will have been amazed by Eddie Izzard's 27 marathon's in 27 days for Sport Relief.

What makes this feat more remarkable is that his accompanying physiotherapist reports that Eddie's fitness level before the challenge was 'below  zero'; he had done no training!

Most of us wouldn't dream of doing anything so ambitious with no training but as the sun comes out, how many of us lace up our trainers intending to get fit again after hibernating all winter and have our good intentions disrupted by injury?

Sometimes this is a matter of doing too much of the same thing too suddenly and our tissues can't adapt quickly enough to tolerate the new activity.

It might be helpful to think about what 'fitness' actually means.

Fitness is not just getting skilful at one type of exercise eg running or weightlifting, but the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM maintains that a combination of these components is essential in healthy adults:

Regular exercise - in order to progress we need to persevere and gradually ask more of our bodies.
Cardiorespiratory- exercise that gets you out of breath
Resistance- strengthening work for all major muscle groups
Flexibility- maintaining muscle compliance and joint ranges
Neuromotor- agility, co-ordination and balance skills

Sometimes in physiotherapy we see injuries where some of these components have been lacking. For example the runner who does regular cardiorespiratory work but has not considered the other three components of fitness.

In this situation their physiotherapist might provide some targeted strengthening exercises, use manual therapy to restore ranges of movement and recommend pilates to address their flexibility and movement control. 

If this is you, then now might be a good time to make an appointment for an assessment, before any niggling injuries start to limit your activities.

You might not be planning 27 marathons in 27 days, but whatever your goals, you want to be fit enough to enjoy them without injury!

Blog article written by Heather Lowman-Riggs

Heather is a Physiotherapist at Sussex Physio Pilates and is currently doing her neuromusculoskeletal MSc at Brighton University.

Heather has worked worked across a broad spectrum of NHS and private sector specialities including a private health club, National League rugby, corporate occupational health and private practice. 

She has provided first aid services for numerous rugby events and team physio for various County, National League and local teams. 

Heather also has qualifications recognised by England Athletics for running leadership and has supported a local football team with their pre-season conditioning.
Garber et al. 2011. Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Volume 43 - Issue 7 - pp 1334-1359