Most runners wait to see a doctor until they absolutely cannot run anymore. In fact, 55 percent of runners in the United States have not seen a doctor for a physical in the past year. Make sure your body can keep up with your training by getting a physical.
Four Reasons to Get a Regular Physical:
Prevent Health Problems
By getting a regular exam, you can prevent health problems. In the event your doctor spots something early, it can be treated before you have major problems. It's always a good idea to see a doctor before training for a half or full marathon, but it is necessary if you:
- Have prior medical problems such as heart disease, lung disease, etc.
- Have symptoms with exertion such as dizziness or pain in chest, neck or jaw
- Are a male older than age 45 or a female older than age 55
- Have a family history of heart disease before age 55
- Have a family history of sudden death at a young age
- Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Have not exercised for three or more months
- Have a current or past injury that sidelined you for some time
If your doctor knows your family health history, he or she can give you guidance on how you can reduce your risk of suffering from those ailments.
Along with preventing injury, regularly seeing the doctor can actually save you money. If your doctor finds a problem and corrects it before it becomes serious, you'll save on medical bills down the road.
During a physical, you and your doctor can establish baselines for your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. This will help your doctor gauge your health's progression or regression. By continually measuring these baselines, you can track how your running is improving your health.
Develop a Relationship with Your Doctor
When you have a good, trusting relationship with your primary care doctor, you tend to open up and give the information he or she needs to provide you the correct diagnosis - all leading to the best health care possible. This doctor will also know your health history well enough to design a plan that fits your needs.
Remember, your doctor's goal is to help you participate safely and to keep you on the road. Start the new year off by seeing your primary care doctor and putting your health first.