ARE YOU READY TO EXERCISE?
"Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program."
You have read this a hundred times. Where did this come from? Is it really important? Does your doctor even understand exercise and does he/she exercise?
Guidelines for pre-exercise screening go back at least to 1975 when the American College of Sports Medicine published the first edition of Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. The 9th Edition is the most recent. The topic of risk evaluation and reduction for exercise clearance is well studied in the scientific literature. Yet, has your doctor ever discussed and reviewed this with you, in detail? Do they even know of the existance of these guidelines?
The literature says:
"the benefits of being physically active far outweigh the transient risks of becoming more physically active or participating in a well-designed and appropriately supervised training program." (Ref)
"there is also clear evidence that PA [physical activity] acutely increases the risk of an adverse cardiovascular (CV) event and sudden cardiac death (SCD) significantly above levels expected at rest" (Ref)
"Although tragic, these events are very rare, and even to some extent preventable with screening programmes." (Ref)
Yes, the literature can be confusing and contradictory.
So, you want to start exercising or are already exercising and say, "do I need to be checked?" And then you realize, "gee, kids are supposed to get a "sports physical" if they participate in high school sports (see the American Academy of Pediatric Preparticipation Physical Examination form), so what do I do?"
Fortunately, there are some quick and thorough resources that will save you a lot of time and angst. And they are free!
American College of Sports Medicine's Pre-Exercise Health Assessment
Quick, 1 page questionnaire you can complete online that will give you guidance on your risk.
Australian Adult Pre-Exercise Screening System
Australia has a great 4 page screening tool to help determine your safety readiness to exercise.
Canadian PAR-Q+ and ePARmed-X+
The Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire for Everyone! and Physical Activity Readiness Medical Examination are both available online at the link above. These are the most thorough and most frequently used forms in the industry. The PAR-Q+ is for "healthy" people. The great thing about this form is that it will prompt you to complete the ePARmed-X+ form if you answer any questions that indicate a health risk.
Given these forms can be completed in only a few minutes, they are a really worth your time to review. I would complete them before starting exercise or even if you currently exercise and have not completed them before. Let me know if your doctor ever informed you of these. Hmmmmm....
Be safe and train hard!
If you have a child who is playing or about to play sports, read this...
In school sports, a preparticipation physical is usually required. However, this is not the case for league sports. Why not? Hmmmm...
Here are the forms I would complete:
Preparticipation Physical Form from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Pediatric Sudden Cardiac Death Risk Assessment Form
The above forms look at risk from a disease perspective. However, what about physical/biological readiness? Read the series of articles discussing this topic. See below.
Growth, Maturation, and Sports Training: Is Your Child Ready to Play Sports? Part 1
Growth, Maturation, and Sports Training: Is Your Child Ready to Play Sports? Part 2
Jump Training, Physical Maturation, Readiness Physics, and Strength and Conditioning
This is the screening process used in professional sports to look for injury risk and physical readiness. Come see your Rolwett chiropractor Dr. Steven Horwitz for a functional assessment.
And what about safety?
Is your child safe? Are you sure? Read: Youth Sports - Is your child safe? Are you really sure about that?