Have you ever been told by a gym to check with your GP first if it is OK to exercise? Wondering how common this is.I asked this because it is reported that gyms ask many people, but particularly those with long-term conditions to get advice from a health professional before starting exercise. The wiki 'GANFYD' (Get a note from your doctor) even has a template letter for GPs to use when gyms seemingly insist on a letter from a GP to say that exercise is safe.
— AnneMarie Cunningham (@amcunningham) October 4, 2014
The above statement is taken from a leaflet published by ExerciseWorks. The leaflet starts by giving advice on how to start exercising but just over half way through is what seems like a disclaimer advising all who are new to exercise to check with a health professional before starting any new exercise activity.
When I asked @exerciseworks why they advised this, because I could find no basis for it, they said that it was 'industry standard' advice.
@amcunningham that's because that is the industry's guidance. I am not risk averse and covered in liability anyway by insurance...I could not establish where this industry standard advice is published but if it becomes available I will publish the link. (edit: thanks to +Lindsay Jordan for directing me to PAR-Q, and info on how its use is suggested by industry training. Note this does not suggest that all people increasing physical activity should see a health professional.) But I am concerned because this not fit with general advice from the NHS or from the Chief Medical Officers of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and England on the safety of exercise. In their document "Start Active, Stay Active' they state that previously inactive people who increase their activity are unlikely to encounter significant risks.
— Exercise Works! (@exerciseworks) October 4, 2014
There is therefore no justification for the advice that all who are new to exercise, or even those with longterm conditions, should see a health professional before starting to increase their activity.
If you want to start exercising follow the advice on the NHS Choices website. Exercise in not risky, but inactivity is. If the fitness industry really is advising that you need to see a health professional before starting exercise they need to catch up with the NHS!
EDIT : The Faculty for Sports and Exercise Medicine discuss risk stratification for exercise in this document but this is not referred to in the CMO guidance. I will attempt to update as I find out more!
@amcunningham @FSEM_UK yes. CMO can't detail all the risk...inactivity is the issue. More support for LTC patients where risk is higher
— Niall Elliott (@dundeesportsmed) October 4, 2014