Are You Fit Enough to Get Fit? by Nathan Kiskila, M.D.


Board Certification: Family Practice

I addressed this concern in the past, but it’s time to revisit this topic since many people resolve to make physical fitness a goal for the new year.  Starting a new exercise program or sport may be a good idea, but if you have had a past injury or problem, are over the age of 40, overweight, previously inactive or have a history of any medical condition such as diabetes or heart problems, you may want to have an exam before starting something new. Based on your risk factors, a doctor may want to ask about your personal and family medical history, assess heart disease risk factors such as cholesterol levels and smoking. Simple blood and urine tests may be obtained and if indicated an exercise stress test.  Your doctor may make limitations on an exercise regimen based on your results. If you have any chest pain or excessive shortness of breath while exercising, stop immediately and call your doctor right away.

Additionally, recent study shows that 10 percent of people who rigorously exercise actually get worse on one or two measures related to heart disease: blood pressure and levels of insulin, HDL cholesterol or triglycerides.*  Sometimes exercise does not work for certain people.  Authors of the study say that people can continue to exercise as before, but to also routinely get their heart disease risk factors checked.

It is always a good idea to exercise, but please be mindful by considering the aforementioned information so you can successfully achieve your goal of fitness this new year.


*Bouchard C, Blair SN, Church TS, Earnest CP, Hagberg JM, et al. (2012) Adverse Metabolic Response to Regular Exercise: Is It a Rare or Common Occurrence? PLoS ONE 7(5): e37887. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0037887



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