Is Exercise Dangerous?

By

Nov 3, 2019

Exercise is commonly perceived as beneficial to your health. Research suggests regular sport and exercise can reduce your risk of early death by 20 to 40%. It’s prescribed by general practitioners and funded by the government for conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol and heart disease.

But this hasn’t always been the case. Only 50 years ago, exercise was considered somewhat dangerous for the general public and running was reserved as a training tool for Olympians. Doctors would even warn patients that strenuous exercise could lead to heart damage.

The question is – have we taken it too far by normalizing exercise without performing pre-exercise assessments?

The fear of injury is a common barrier to physical activity among older adults – yet, ironically, physical fitness and motor coordination actually protect against these same injuries. This circular barrier needs to be addressed before beginning exercise, particularly for elderly people.

Traditional pre-exercise assessments involved a cardiovascular health and physical examination by a general practitioner. Recently, qualified experts such a exercise physiologists are responsible for assessing exercise ability and risk as well as creating and conducting programs for individuals, groups and sports teams.

International reports show that 60% of sporting injuries are diagnosed as sprains, strains and dislocations and 23% of these occur in the lower leg. Your feet and lower limbs are the building blocks of injury prevention. They are key components in motor coordination and exercise tolerance and should be considered as such.

Having your feet and lower limb function assessed prior to exercising can:

  1. Identify asymmetry, old injuries and genetic factors that predispose injury.
  2. Improve balance, performance and exercise tolerance.
  3. Lead to improved outcomes of exercise programs.

Whether your goal is to lose weight, walk to the letter box, walk your dog or run a marathon, a thorough examination by a podiatrist will allow you to address any concerns before they lead to an injury.