Physical Health

Physical Image - Photo credit MicrosoftBefore beginning any fitness program, you should consult your physician for a physical health assessment. All fitness health clubs, exercise studios, fitness classes and personal trainers require the clients to complete a basic health screening history form. The purpose of the form is to identify individuals who are at risk for cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and other physical health problems. It assists in preventing life threatening injuries that can result from vigorous exercise. It also protects the fitness facility or trainer from legal implications that may come from assigning an exercise that may affect the individuals' health problem. In some cases, a physician's signature for clearance to exercise may be requested.

Benefits of Physical Assessments

  • Establishes a baseline of your current health status
  • Uses the baseline to monitor your fitness progress and improvements
  • Works as a motivation tool
  • Allows trainers to develop a fitness program specific to your health needs to reach your goals

Fitness Health Risk Factors

  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • High Blood Pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg (or on medication to lower)
  • High cholesterol levels greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl or HDL < 35 mg/dl (or on medication to lower)
  • Asthma, Bronchitis or Allergies
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Alcoholism or other drug addictions
  • Impaired glucose levels of > or = 100 mg/dl (Diabetic)
  • Obesity: BMI > or = 30Kg/m^2 or waist girth of 100 cm or more
  • Prior family history of health issues

Exercise can help prevent some of these risk factors while improving physical fitness. Therefore, pace your self when beginning any exercise program and gradually increase your workout. If you have any cardiopulmonary or metabolic disease, you may experience some of the symptoms below at which time you should stop exercising:

  • Chest pains
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cramping in legs or feet
  • Swelling of ankles or feet
  • Extreme fatigue

Initial health screening is the first step to starting a fitness program. It ensures that your body is physically capable to handle various exercises. When physically fit, one can successfully perform exercise without excessive fatigue and gradually reach and monitor self at different fitness levels.