Should I check my health before exercising?

Getting a prior check-up before starting to exercise is a procedure that will not only allow us to better understand our state of health, but also to adapt the type of activity according to the result and obtain greater benefits when practicing sports.

According to a 2002 WHO report , physical inactivity is one of the most frequent risk factors and cause of death in industrialized countries. It is clear that physical activity is healthy and, therefore, the recommendation to exercise is universal, but the indications are not the same for everyone and it should not be practiced in the same way.

Sport adapted to your physical characteristics

Each person has their own characteristics, starting with something as basic as sex and age or the innumerable pathologies that exist today. For these reasons, the activity that each one practices must be adapted and individualized . There are many factors to take into account and to value, because nowadays anyone wears shoes and exercises.

Putting yourself in the hands of a professional will always be the first step. In order to establish some guidelines, it is essential to carry out a review prior to the activity that we want to carry out , because more than one intends to carry out a type of exercise that, finally, turns out to be not the most appropriate for their needs.

Start with a medical check-up

At present, reviews are carried out prior to the practice of physical activity in medical centers of clubs and gyms where the health status of the members is evaluated. However, these procedures can also be carried out in private clinics, hospitals or centers .

The recommendation is that, if possible, the medical examination is carried out by a Sports Doctor , since it is the professional who has been trained for it. He will be in charge of gathering information to determine what is the best and most appropriate for each individual.

1. Clinical history

Before carrying out any test or exploration, it is essential to do an interrogation or medical history focused on knowing the history, both family and personal, of the person in question.

  • Family history : there are pathologies that, if they have previously existed in the family, can also appear a posteriori. In addition, some of them can become risk factors when it comes to sports. This is the case of heart disease, diabetes, asthma …
  • Personal history : they are also essential and you should not focus only on the cardiovascular system, since although it is one of the most important it is not the only one. It is about finding out if there has been any injury, if there is an eye disease, if drugs are taken and why …

Many times it is the patient himself who does not give importance to according to what health problem because he lives with him daily. But when physical activity is performed, conditions change and what we are used to may require adaptations. For example, for a healthy person, hydration during activity is very important, but for a diabetic it is even more so, since their metabolic alteration requires greater control of their water intake.

2. Physical examination

  • Basal constants : those that are obtained without making any previous effort, such as heart rate, oxygen saturation … In this way, the conditions that each individual presents will be initially known.
  • Height and weight : two pieces of information that allow knowing the BMI (Body Mass Index = weight / height) that will tell us if we are within the parameters of a normal weight, if we are overweight or obese.
    • Below 18 is considered underweight
    • Between 18-25 of normal weight
    • 25 to 30 overweight
    • Above 30 we talk about obesity
  • Resting blood pressure : normal values ​​are 140/90 mmHg. Sometimes in the doctor’s office the “ white coat syndrome ” may appear where a person with normal blood pressure registers high values ​​due to the stress of the moment. For this reason, for someone to be considered hypertensive, the blood pressure must be taken several times and that it always has high values.
  • Locomotor system : the natural posture is visualized and it is evaluated if there are alterations or asymmetries (such as one hip higher than the other), as well as limitations when making movements.
  • Auscultation and Electrocardiogram (ECG): these are two tests that allow obtaining information that at first glance does not give symptoms and that is not perceptible by the patient. The ECG is a basic, non-invasive and rapid test that provides valuable information on the health status of the heart.

3. Stress test

It consists of carrying out a study of cardiac adaptation to effort, to assess this adaptation at the level of heart rate and blood pressure .

4. Life habits

The habits that make up the person’s lifestyle must also be taken into account. The hours at which sports are practiced , for example, are a point to assess when making the correct exercise prescription. Also the distribution of meals , the type of food or the terrain on which you do sports (open air gym, in the water …).

The variables are infinite and that is why it is also necessary to know the habits and preferences , in this way the practice will be more pleasant and the “loyalty” greater.

Who is it recommended to?

To anyone who wants to start a sports practice, whether at an amateur or obviously professional level. Especially in the case of men over 45 and women over 55, since cardiovascular risks increase from these ages.

In the case of athletes or people used to exercising who have never had a medical check-up, the recommendation is even more relevant. You have to think that these types of people subject their body to constant physiological changes. For this reason, your state of health must be assessed exhaustively and by a professional. In all cases, it is recommended to repeat the review once a year.

What you should know:

  • The check-up prior to exercising will allow us to better understand our state of health and adapt the activity according to the result and the benefits we wish to obtain.
  • To prescribe adequate exercise, family history (pathologies) and personal history (injuries, illnesses, drugs) and our habits are taken into account.
  • A “stress test” is recommended for everyone starting out in sports, especially men over 45 and women over 55, due to the increased cardiovascular risk.

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