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Why It's Important To Get A Physical Before Starting a Sport

Posted by Dan Cromar on 10/14/2015
Being actively engaged in sports is one of the best activities for health and well-being. According to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, regular physical activity will prevent diseases, control weight, relieve stress and improve quality of sleep. However, suddenly performing strenuous sports can also be harmful to the body. Keep reading to learn why getting a physical before starting a sport is so important.

Injury Prevention
According to the Army Public Health Center, weight-lifting and exercise activities contribute to 50 percent of health related injuries. One of the easiest ways to injure oneself is through suddenly starting up rigorous sports. Therefore, a physical is the best way to identify and prevent any potential health corners that could contribute to an injury. A physical exam will involve a health history form, a questionnaire about lifestyle choices and an examination of organs and body's systems. 

Benchmark Physical Fitness
A physical exam may involve checking the athlete's reflexes, mobility, flexibility, strength and coordination. Therefore, the person will learn the current state and limitations of their physical capabilities. For example, it could include a treadmill stress test that will benchmark the cardiovascular and respiratory system. This is important to establish before participating in rigorous sports that may push a person beyond their limits. It will also be important when establishing a detailed training plan for cardio and weight lifting.

Liability Protection
Physical exams are one of the best ways to prevent personal injury lawsuits. A physical exam provides a thorough risk assessment and answers the question whether the individual should participate in the target sport or not. Liability claims may occur after a sports injury and cause trouble for both the athlete and the organization. For example, if an adult without insurance participates in sports without a physical, their potential health problems will translate into financial problems.

Personalized Advice
The physical exam is an excellent opportunity for the doctor to provide personalized advice to the athlete about their health and body. For example, the doctor may be able to provide specific exercises to the athlete that will help prevent injuries that they are likely to experience. They will also be able to follow-up with any concerns and track progress during the next annual physical.

Exacerbate Chronic Health Conditions
According to the well-respected Mayo Clinic, certain health conditions require the person to get a physical before engaging in modern physical activities. For example, anyone with a lung, heart or kidney disease must first consult with their doctor before starting a sport. This is because these diseases may be exacerbated by sudden, strenuous exercise. For example, someone with a lung disease may experience breathing difficulties if they suddenly start jogging. During the physical, the doctor will measure and analyze physical fitness against current health conditions and proposed sports activities. 

In the end, getting a physical before starting sports will prevent injuries, benchmark physical fitness and avoid legal problems. It will also provide individualized advice and prevent the exacerbation of chronic health conditions.

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