Tune Up Before You Ride
Assessing Your Health Before the BP MS 150
The BP MS 150 can be done by anyone, but it is a strenuous event. Just like you wouldn't take a car that had been sitting in the garage out for a cross country trip without a tune up first, you shouldn't take your body on a 170 mile ride without your own tune up. A visit to a primary care sports medicine or your general practitioner can bring to light problems that need to be addressed, point out possible areas of concern for the future or just give you guidance through your training.
The hills in Bastrop and Austin can be a stress test all their own, but that shouldn’t be the first you’re your heart sees. Before participating in any vigorous exercise the American Heart Association recommends men over the age of 40 and women over 50 to have an exercise stress test. This is a simple test that screens for any blockages in the vessels to the heart. Dr. Alysia Bedgood, a primary care sports medicine physician with the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute says, “Even those who are currently active should have this test and it may be needed at even a younger age if you have other risk factors. The best way to know if you need it is to check in with your physician.”
If you have conditions such as hypertension, high cholesterol or diabetes you may already see your doctor regularly but it is important to bring up the subject of starting exercise or participating in a ride such as the BP MS 150 with them. “For those on blood pressure medication, diuretics or “water pills” can make you more susceptible to the heat and dehydration.,” says Bedgood With other medications your blood pressure may become too low as exercise naturally lower your blood pressure. Cholesterol medication can sometimes cause muscle aches and pains alone and this risk is increased with exercise. For diabetics exercise dramatically changes the way and how much carbs your body uses. Starting a new exercise program may mean the need for more frequent checking of your blood sugar and medication changes. If you already have kidney problems or neuropathy in your hands or feet your doctor may recommend different types of hydration strategies or special equipment to help prevent further problems.
For those of you who are healthy, exercise regularly and have been biking for years; great job! Have you had issues with cramping or soreness? Do you have light skin and need to make sure all those new spots are just cute freckles and nothing dangerous? Do you want to know how to keep that injury from last year from flaring back up? Even you can benefit from a yearly check up.
Sports are a team effort so no matter who you are make sure you have a good physician on your team.