Getting a physical medical exam is not only an excellent start to any fitness program, but also very important for your general health. The best preparation for exercise is making sure you can safely engage in increased physical activity. The following information will help you understand why a physical medical exam is paramount before starting a new exercise routine.
Analyzing What Types of Exercise You Can Participate In
If you are new to exercise, just getting started on a fitness program for the first time, or have been away from the fitness world for an extended period of time, getting a physical exam from your healthcare professional can help you narrow down what type of exercise you qualify for and what activity would be appropriate for your fitness goals. Much of this will be dependent on the results of your pre-program physical. If your doctor uncovers any underlying issues that could prevent you from engaging in certain activities you will need to tailor your exercise program to work with what you are able to do now. To decide what kind of exercise you want to do, you also need to look closely at your personality, lifestyle and current responsibilities.
Defining Your Fitness Goals
Setting appropriate fitness goals and developing an effective plan are the first steps to successfully incorporating fitness into your lifestyle and planning for steady, obstacle-limited results. Is there something specific you want to get out of your training? Do you have an area you really want to tone, specific weight loss goals, or a race you really want to finish? Do you want information on supplements and nutrition to help support your physical goals? These are all important questions when making your fitness plan and can feel overwhelming when you are first starting out. Working with your doctor allows you to benefit from his expertise from the beginning to make sure you are on a path for success.
Creating an Individualized Exercise Program
Your physical medical exam can give you valuable information to share with your fitness professional to help them create the best individualized program that focuses on your needs. Based on the information that your physical exam reveals, you and your doctor can choose activities that will be appropriate for your current fitness level.
Providing Test Results to Your Fitness Coach Helps with Workout Plans
Choosing to participate in a physical exam will give you and your fitness coach a great starting place for creating a successful exercise plan to challenge you and promote a healthy, active lifestyle. Your mental preparedness for committing to your exercise plan will receive a healthy boost after you have your physical exam and you can say with confidence that your body is ready to commit.
Entering School Athletic Programs Requires a Physical Examination
If you have a child who is planning on participating in a school athletic program a physical examination prior to play is usually required. According to the Texas University Interscholastic League, each athlete must have a physical exam with a medical history when first entering a program and an annual health history update.
Identifying Potential Obstacles or Health Risks
The pre-program physical can also identify any potential obstacles or health risks you may encounter with moderate to vigorous activity. The Mayo Clinic advises that you alert your healthcare provider to any of these symptoms before starting a new exercise regimen:
- Pain or discomfort in your chest, neck, jaw or arms during physical activity
- Dizziness or fainting with exercise or exertion
- Shortness of breath with mild exertion, at rest, or when lying down or going to bed
- Ankle swelling, especially at night
- A rapid or pronounced heartbeat
- A heart murmur that your doctor has previously diagnosed
- Lower leg pain when you walk, which goes away with rest
Your healthcare provider may also order you a blood test for possible hidden health issues that should be addressed. Participating in this will also allow you to have a blood test profile so when you have future blood tests you can compare your results and see the benefits of your fitness training.
Expressing Concerns or Questions You Have
Talk with your doctor about beginning your exercise regimen and discuss any potential concerns, risks or accommodations necessary before starting your program. Prior to your appointment, take the time to write down any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health and fitness training to discuss with your healthcare provider. We always think we will remember what we want to ask during the appointment, but often we forget. Having a list in front of you will help you avoid this.
Deciding if You Should See Your Doctor
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you see your doctor before beginning a new exercise program if at least two of the following apply to you:
- You haven’t exercised for at least 30 minutes, three days a week for three months or more.
- You have a family history of heart disease before age 55 in men and age 65 in women.
- You’re a man older than age 45 or a woman older than age 55.
- You currently smoke or you quit smoking in the past six months.
- You have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- You’re overweight or obese.
- You have impaired glucose tolerance, also called prediabetes.
Preventing Injuries Through Consultation
Freedom Health Centers strongly believes in the importance of preventative measures in healthcare. Our Athlete Training and Injury Prevention program helps you understand the mechanics of the body so you are able to safely excel at your chosen sports and activities and avoid injuries that are often associated with specific sports. Meeting with your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen gives you the opportunity to diagnose correctable problems that may negatively impact your ability to perform.
Call today to schedule a Physical Medical Exam or an Injury Risk Assessment for your student-athlete! (972) 542-3300