Sports Health Checkups: Who Should Get Them And For What?

Sports Health Checkups: Who Should Get Them And For What?

Getting a sports medical check-up is essential, whether you are an amateur or if you dedicate yourself professionally to a discipline. Learn what these reviews are for and how often you should get them.

Sports Health Checkups: Who Should Get Them And For What?

Last update: December 29, 2021

When we exercise, an increase in physiological demands occurs in the body. If we are not in good shape or the increase in demand is not made progressively, we run the risk of exceeding our capacity. In order to guarantee health in sports practice, sports medical check-ups arose.

The main objective is to prevent the risks associated with sport and offer keys to boost performance. In other words, in people unfamiliar with exercise it will be a prevention tool; and in accomplished athletes, a way to optimize results.

These sports medical check-ups are individually adapted to the characteristics of each person, since they vary according to the sport being done, the level of competition or the previous physical form.

Who should get a sports health checkup?

In general, it must be made clear that a sports medical check-up It is indicated for all people who practice sports, whether amateur, weekend or competition level. It is convenient, and it is the safest thing, that every person who does sport knows the capacity of his organism to respond to the increase in physical activity.

Depending on the level of preparation and the requirement, the check-up will be adapted. Knowing the starting point is the best guarantee to ensure that we can enjoy sport in a healthy way.

But without a doubt, the primary objective of these sports medical check-ups is to avoid the sudden death of athletes. It usually occurs in people who are around 40-50 years old and start, for example, in long-distance races, such as a half marathon.

It means that the intense sports practices they are a risk factor. These high demands would be associated with a type of pathologies known as cardiomyopathies.

But the purpose of the check-up is not limited to the prevention of sudden death, but there are many other pathologies that can be accentuated as a result of physical activity. An individualized study will be very valid to prevent muscle, joint or biomechanical injuries.

How often is it advisable to repeat the sports medical check-up?

Exercise brings countless benefits to the body and mind:

  • Improves cardiovascular health.
  • Increases respiratory capacity.
  • Tones the muscles.
  • Boost self-esteem and improve sociability.

However, there are risks that must be assumed and known. From 35-40 years old, it is advisable to do a sports medical check-up every 5 years, as long as there is no drastic change in the state of health or the requirement of the sport being performed is modified.

There are protocols that doctors follow to perform a sports medical check-up and review the most relevant organs.

What does it mean to be physically fit?

Sports fitness is the condition that guarantees the safe performance of any physical activity, whether recreational or competitive. It is obtained after passing some screening tests.

The eligible result is usually valid for one year (one season for elite athletes). Although there is no clear regularization in its implementation or in its periodicity, so it depends on the profile of the person and the sports practice they carry out.

What studies are carried out?

There are different types and modalities of sports medical check-ups. The basic is intended to rule out the possibility of sudden death in the future, for which he will assess the family and personal history through an interview, then proceed with a thorough physical examination and an electrocardiogram.

If something suspicious is seen on the electrocardiogram or there is a history of interest, complementary methods should be expanded.

In general terms, the tests that can be done are the following:

  • Blood test: It is used to assess muscle adaptation parameters and the ability to transport oxygen from the blood. In addition, it provides information on possible pathologies that could condition basic health.
  • Resting electrocardiogram: value the electrical activity of the heart Resting.
  • Ergometry or stress test: it analyzes the electrical activity of the heart during exertion, that is, the response we have to exercise. Ideal for detecting angina and arrhythmias.
  • Spirometry: It is a simple test to assess our lung function or capacity.
  • Echocardiogram: observes the structure of the heart, analyzes the valves and the heart walls.
  • Stress test with gas measurement: it measures the oxygen consumption that we have during the effort and, if it is repeated in successive studies, it allows to know the improvement of the performance.
  • Kineanthropometric study: measurement of the percentages of fat, muscle and bone tissue, which are related to height, weight and body constitution.
  • Nutritional study: it is combined with specific feeding guidelines, adjusted for each case.
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Is the sports health check-up the same for adults as for children?

In principle, the purpose of the sports medical check-up is similar in adults and children. What is intended is to know the body and the limits we have to prevent injuries and avoid risks.

In the kids, the key is to analyze possible heart abnormalities, since the sports test will be one of the first tests to be carried out. Another small nuance to take into account at these early ages is to rule out any signs of neurological or muscular dysfunction.

In children, special attention must be paid to exploring motor skills, strength and reflexes, as well as flexibility.

The pillars of the pediatric check-up will be the clinical interview, personal and family history and physical examination, which together with the electrocardiogram will give sufficient information. Ergometry is more common for adults, since the probability of suffering heart disease is greater.

The stress test or ergometry is already part of the usual exams for adults. Not so in children.

What are the most frequent alterations that are detected in sports medical check-ups?

The sports physical can give a lot of information, but the main thing is to look for signs to avoid sudden death. For this, the electrocardiogram is of vital importance.

But these tests can uncover a number of other heart problems, such as arrhythmogenic dysplasia that triggers an arrhythmia, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy that results in ineffective pumping, a Brugada syndrome, pathologies in the heart valves and possible murmurs.

Organic metabolic problems, such as alterations in the thyroid gland, anemia, undiagnosed cases of diabetes, are also likely to be found in this review. And finally, scoliosis, which is the deviation of the spine.

Take the checkup!

At present, there are almost no sporting events or establishments related to exercise that do not require sports medical check-ups for participants. But if you do the practice in an amateur way, without coaches and without attending a specialized physical place, you should also do it.

Detecting a disturbance early can make a huge difference in the future. This will provide security for your practice, an improvement in performance and peace of mind.

Savia is MAPFRE’s telemedicine platform in which the user enjoys comprehensive management of their health. What does this mean? That you have a doctor on your mobile phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: you can speak through our application or through the website quickly and without displacement with a general practitioner or a specialist through chat, video consultation or phone call. In addition, you can contract both in-person and at-home services in the best centers throughout the national territory and with the best professionals.

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