Just got back from my first full physical in a number of years. By full, I mean I had a complete blood workup, a bone scan, body fat measurement, and VO2 max stress test. The good news is I’ve stayed pretty healthy despite my pathetic exercise regimen. I have good base fitness for a guy who hasn’t exercised in five years, and most of my cardio risk factors are quite low. The bad news is that some unfortunate genetic tendencies are catching up with me.
I’m 48 years old, and like most guys my age, I carry a little too much body fat and I’m showing early signs of adult-onset diabetes. Both of these are usually corrected by taking the proper diet and exercise steps. But they do need to be corrected and monitored on a regular basis. Failure to correct them will almost certainly lead to Type II diabetes over the next 10 years, along with the accompanying cardio-pulmonary problems. Inexpensive blood tests will allow me and my doctor to monitor my progress. There is also a hormonal component to the insulin/diabetic scenario. The older I get the lower my natural hormone levels will fall, and this will also need to be monitored, as low testosterone levels are implicated in many cases of adult-onset diabetes in men.
Unlike most guys my age, I have osteopenia (early-stage bone loss) in my hips. I can thank my Mom’s side of the family for this, as osteoporosis was wide-spread through my maternal ancestry. The bone loss problem is a bit more complicated than the insulin/diabetic issue and I will write more about this in a later post. If you are nearing or past the 50-year mark you may want to have a bone scan to see where you stand and determine if you need to take corrective action. The one sure thing about VMX is that we will all eventually fall off, and breaking bones is a real bummer. Maintaining good bone health is probably the single most important thing we can do to insure a long, happy VMX career.
I guess the summary of this physical, for me, was that it was a good wake-up call to get in gear and do some things I knew I should be doing, but didn’t really have clear-cut incentives to do. And I discovered some danger areas that could grow into real disasters, given my chosen hobby, if left untreated. I hope all of you will take the time to find a good doctor who will work with you to understand your needs, monitor the right things, and help you build a regimen to stay healthy for a long time in our sport.