The Impact of Inactivity

How Are Injuries Running Away With Our Health

Ian Sadler Articles on Biomechanics, Treatments

According to the Department of Health, a shocking 64% of adults in the UK are excessively overweight. Perhaps even more startling, 19% of children are also overweight or obese, and likely to incur health damage as a consequence. Body weight has long been linked to more than just what we eat; we have also got to be exercising.

The Price of Inactivity

Exercise provides a rich smorgasbord of health benefits including a stronger heart and healthier joints. However, since 2005 there has been no increase in overall activity level among UK adults (Public Health England) and it remains a constant 57% being active on a weekly basis for more than 30 minutes. Sport England states that the cost of this physical inactivity to the UK economy is over £944 million per year, with the costs associated with the biggest culprits being diabetes (£191million) and Coronary Heart Decease (a whopping £491 million). The cost in human terms is a lot of unnecessary suffering and an early grave.

We’re Not All The Same

This leaves us asking one big question: what is it that stops us being active? Why don’t we do the simple things, as just 30 min exercise per week may allow us to see our grandchildren grow up. I think the answer to this question may well be related to the injury rates we suffer in order to keep ourselves active. If you keep getting injured while trying to do the right thing, you tend to give up. We all know someone with a bad knee from running, or have suffered some foot pain ourselves. If we take running, which is one of the biggest participation sports in the UK, we find that 50% of runners are injured in any given year, and that 79% of these injuries are to the lower limb. There has been a tremendous amount of research into running injuries, who is susceptible, and how to treat them. However, in the last 40 years this figure of 79% has hardly budged. It seems that the ‘one size fits all’ approach, exemplified by ‘anti-pronation trainers’, ‘barefoot, ‘Chi’ or ‘POSE’ running are not successful in reducing the rates of injuries we keep suffering. It also seems it is time to admit that everyone is different, and whilst we may all be “born to run” we are all running differently! Just look out of your window at the joggers going past. Do they all run the same? No!

Teaching An Individualised Approach

BxLearn, BxClinic’s new education wing, has put together a one day intensive update (KnowRunning) on running theory and how to apply it to the individual. Trainers are a necessary protection for your foot, but how do you pick the right one for you, when there are over 3000 models currently available? What is your ‘running style’ and is it causing your injuries?
We need to get out on our feet, and stay there comfortable and pain free, if we are to gain our rightful share of the in excess of (add the national figure) £7.6bn in health benefits and avoided costs to the NHS, that according to Sport England, the UK is missing out on.

  • BxClinic Know Running (investment in inactivity)

    Investment in inactivity

  • BxClinic Know Running (1 in 6 deaths)

    1 in 6 deaths

  • BxClinic Know Running (A breakdown of activity)

    A breakdown of activity

About the Author

Ian Sadler

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Hi, I’m Ian Sadler: I first became interested in the area of biomechanics during my time serving as a battlefield medic in the British Army in elite and Special Forces, during which time I treated many lower limb injuries in various fields of operation. After leaving the army I studied for a medical degree specialising in podiatry and orthotics. I went on to work for the NHS before moving to the UK’s leading biomechanics technologies company as its principal clinician and orthotics consultant. Here I was involved in the development of pioneering gait analysis technology, which I went on to develop for use in clinical practice. When I am not at the clinic or lecturing I am still involved with the army as a physical training instructor for the Reserve Forces. I’m a keen athlete myself and take part in triathlon events when time allows.


To learn more about this training, please contact James Chard, Clinical Practice Manager