Check-ups and Medical Tests
Bloody Good Show
3“I noticed my cycling getting slower and slower. I thought I was tired from all the early season long rides…Well, something else was happening…I was just in for a routine checkup, with blood work, and found out that I had iron deficiency anemia.” Bicycling Long Distance forum
Apart from the brouhaha regarding regular testing for anti-doping compliance, other types of testing are important for elite and recreational cyclists. Off-season is a good time for an annual medical examination to determine your physical vibrancy and establish a benchmark to monitor throughout the year.
Blood tests can: indicate cholesterol and pressure, vitamin and mineral sufficiency, hematocrit levels; determine vulnerability to infection; and assess status of many organ systems. A separate heart exam should be included in your checklist.
4While the health benefits of exercise are clear, there are risk factors for a cardiac event during and immediately post-exercise, including Sudden Death Syndrome. SDS factors may be detected even in young healthy athletes, and it’s worth budgeting for this test.
Breathing tests can be performed to evaluate lung function as a basis for determining Exercise-Induced Asthma. Special prescriptive exceptions, known as Therapeutic Use Exemptions, for certain medical-related conditions can be obtained from WADA; some must be doctor-referred and filed well in advance of possible anti-doping testing.
Give yourself time for this process and any needed treatment during this phase of volume prior to intense work. Off-season is also a good time to establish baselines in body composition: fat loss, lean mass, bone density – best performed in a lab. From anemia to zetacrit, head into the holidays with 4bDecember’s diagnostics.
Prayer for Health Check-Ups
“For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life.” 5Leviticus 17:14
We are thankful for wellness. We confess we sometimes over-emphasize physiology and ignore the physical condition of our bodies. We ask for guidance and provision for proper health maintenance and ask blessing on testing labs and treatments.
Ponder Do I know my specific physical condition? Am I physically ready for a new training year? Affirm I can endure the pricks and pokes and lab time necessary to be cleared for exercise stress. Watch results from medical exams to gain greater physical awareness that in turn, increases cycling-specific training & performance knowledge.
3“I’m Anemic, No Wonder I Got So Slow,” posted by kg on 10 February 2007 Bicycling Magazine Forums→Bicycling Forums→Bicycling’s Long Distance Forum http://forums.bicycling.com
4“Sudden Death in Athletes,” webinar by USA Cycling Science & Education department as presented by Dr. John Vitarello on 11/8/07
4bCertain deadlines exist that should be planned in other months. For instance, UCI currently requires 6 months of medical testing associated with the biological passport prior to participation in a Pro Tour event. Sponsor deadlines are related to financial year decision-makings. There are many other deadlines to consider throughout the year.
5The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society