Today I went to see a GP at a practice near my office to get the medical clearance for Paris Marathon signed. I don’t have a regular GP so I didn’t mind who I got. Turns out I got this:
Me: I need to get a medical clearance to run a marathon.
GP: Have you run one before?
Me: No, but I’ve run half marathons.
GP: How many miles or kilometres do you run every week?
Me: About 50km at the moment.
GP: Hmmm… You know that there is medical evidence that says that this level of exercise is actually harmful to our bodies? It enlarges you heart… it’s especially good not good to run on pavement… and the worst is endurance running or cycling… very bad… heart rate is very high for a long time… very bad… The recommendation these days is 2-3 hours of exercise a week. And then there are calories! With that amount of running you’re burning so many calories! But they have to come back from somewhere, I mean they won’t come from thin air! I mean I’m just telling you so that you’re aware…
Me: Ummm… ok :| (thinking I’m very well aware about where calories come from!)
GP looks through my file: Are you not taking Citalopram any more?
Me: No, I’m not actually! (waiting to be asked how I’m doing……….)
GP: I need to take your blood pressure.
Takes my blood pressure. Mutters that it’s excellent. Signs my form. Says good-bye. I feel like shit.
Outside the practice I take out my phone and tweet. As you do :) And thank g*d for Twitter! :
And from everything I’ve read online tonight I have learned that running a marathon a year really isn’t going to damage my health… and even enlarged heart doesn’t cause any problems unless there are genetic irregularities in the heart as well. Wikipedia’s entry on the enlarged heart:
Athlete’s heart is not dangerous for athletes (though if a non-athlete has symptoms of bradycardia, cardiomegaly, and cardiac hypertrophy, another illness may be present). Athlete’s heart is not the cause sudden cardiac death during or shortly after a workout, which mainly occurs due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a genetic disorder.
30 minutes a day is better than 15, 60 is better than 30, and 90 is better than 60. The gains occur even faster with vigorous exercise (running and jogging count as vigorous; moderate exercise includes activities like gardening and walking).
Who do YOU go to when you need running / medical advice? Who do you trust? GP over Wikipedia or vice versa? :)