Beginning Runner's Guide - Physical Examination
Before you begin, it’s a good idea to see your doctor and get a physical examination--particularly if you have not had one in several years. Most high school runners must show evidence of having a medical check-up before being allowed to join an organized school team. Many older runners schedule regular physical exams to assure they remain in good health. Preventive medicine has become very popular in the last several decades, because of the influence of Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, author of the best-selling book, Aerobics.
Regardless of your age, get a check-up from a licensed physician before you begin to run. This exam should include an exercise stress test (usually done on a treadmill) to insure that you have no cardiovascular problems that might surface if you exercise too hard.
Running is a benign form of exercise. Despite the stress we place on our bodies (perhaps because of that stress), runners do not have more heart attacks than people who do not run 5-K races and marathons. In fact, statistics show that we have fewer cardiovascular problems because of our healthy lifestyles. Nevertheless, getting a physical exam is as important as choosing a comfortable pair of shoes. More important, in fact.
Getting medical clearance is especially important if you are a current or former smoker, if you are overweight, or if there is a history of heart disease in your family. Be safe: schedule a physical examination today!