Should I Check with My Doctor Before Starting a New Workout Program?
Jake: Hey, I’m Jake of Body by Jake with your health and wellness tip of the day – health and wellness time. That means it’s Dr. Art Mollen time. Dr. Art, we’ve got a beauty for you. The question is: Do I need to get heart checked before starting an exercise program?
Dr. Art: Yeah, I think it depends upon your age. Certainly if you’re 20 years old – do you need to get checked out? No, not necessarily unless you’re having chest pains shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing.
The other side of the coin…if you’re 40 years old and you have not exercised at all in quite some time, besides having maybe played football in college or something.
Yes. You should get checked out and you should have not only a resting electrocardiogram, but it’s called a stress electrocardiogram where you’re actually on the treadmill and they’re checking your heart out and they’re able to see changes and if there’s any early coronary artery disease blockages in your heart or abnormal beats of your heart.
So I think for someone who’s not exercising for a long, long time….again if you’re over 40 and particularly if you’re over 50 or 60 and all of a sudden you decide “Hey, I’m going to start exercising on a regular basis.” You need to get a cardiovascular evaluation and you know, it’s easy to do a lot of times, you know. You can get these mobile clinics that are doing cardiovascular valuations.
They’ll evaluate your carotid arteries to look for plaques in the arteries. They’ll check your heart. You can even have an iWatch on you know, that basically will check your heart and tell you if you’re having atrial fibrillation or some kind of abnormal beating of your heart. So yes, you should get checked. Definitely if you’re over 40 .
Jake: Just take us through Dr. Art. Could you go to your regular internist, your regular doctor to get this?
Dr. Art: Yeah. I think you need to go to your regular doctor and they will probably do a resting electrocardiogram and then they may refer you to a cardiologist to have a stress electrocardiogram or what’s called a cardio light and that’s a nuclear stress test.
So that’s a little more sophisticated and they may do an echo cardiogram that tells you what the structure of your heart is and if you have an abnormality and if there is a valve that’s you know, basically is defective, and it’s causing what we call regurgitation or something like that in your blood circulation, you’re not getting everything. So those are some of the tests that need to be done. Another simple thing to do for you is to take your pulse.
Place your two fingers at the angle of your jaw. You count the number of beats in 10 seconds, you multiply that by 6 and that’ll give you your resting pulse. So resting pulse normally should be somewhere in the range of say 70 to 80. Now, if you’re in good shape, it’s going to be probably 60, you know, someone like Jake it’s probably going to be 40 because he’s in better shape than most of us.
But the other side of it is the resting pulse is important, but your exercise pulse is equally as important. So if you go out and you start to exercise you want to know what that exercise pulse is going to be and that’s a simple way to do that is they take the number 220. 220 minus your age and you multiply that number by 70%.
That’s going to give you an exercise pulse that you can get beneficial effects on your heart and lungs.
Jake: Sensational! That’s the kind of stuff we love from you doctor!
” Stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit. It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit! Don’t quit! Have a great day!”
To reduce and avoid injury, you should check with your doctor before beginning any fitness program. You perform any exercises at your own risk. BlueCross® Blue Shield® of Arizona (BCBSAZ) and Body by Jake® are neither responsible nor liable for any injury or harm you may sustain as a result of performing any exercise. Body by Jake is independent of BCBSAZ.
Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and the Cross and Shield Symbols are registered service marks of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.