Starting Exercise Means a Medical 'Tune-Up' First

See your doctor before embarking on any new summer regimen, experts advise

SATURDAY, June 24, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Planning on starting a new exercise program this summer? Consult with your doctor beforehand, urge experts at the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

"Exercise actually can bring out minor medical issues and cause increased problems, which are sometimes irreversible. As an analogy, you wouldn't enter into a NASCAR race without having your car inspected first," Dr. Michael J. Sampson, team doctor for Virginia Tech and chair of the department of family medicine at the Edward Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, said in a prepared statement.

"From an osteopathic standpoint, form and function are interrelated. Therefore, the better the human body is working biomechanically and physically, the better the performance and benefits the patient receives," he said.

Age, weight, body mass index (BMI), heart and lung function, cholesterol level, joint stability, and the risk for heart disease, fractures and osteoporosis are among the factors a doctor takes into consideration when assessing or creating a patient's exercise plan.

Sampson recommended you have the following information when you discuss a new exercise program with your doctor:

  • Goals for the exercise program.
  • Any known health problems.
  • Medication, herbal and supplemental use.
  • Family history of any health problems such as heart disease, diabetes or osteoporosis.
  • Bone or joint problems.
  • Your history of smoking and alcohol use.

"A 15-minute visit to your physician could potentially save your life -- or, at the very least, prevent future injuries from occurring," Sampson said.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about exercise.

SOURCE: American Osteopathic Association, news release, May 15, 2006
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