Is it necessary to have a medical certificate before a race?
In the case of popular races, which can be done with children, walking and are of short distance, a specific medical certificate is not usually necessary if we have followed the usual check-ups. However, some people may need medical advice. This “at risk” group would be made up of those who:
- Have had an illness, intervention, admission, need for urgent consultation or change of medication in the last three months.
- They suffer from an advanced chronic disease (e.g., heart failure, defibrillator carriers, transplant recipients).
- They do not have good control of their disease (e.g., blood pressure, blood sugar, uncontrolled pain, active cancer).
Are we prepared?
Physical preparation is important, and it is not appropriate to participate in a sporting event, even a popular one, without a minimum of training.
People who exercise regularly can continue with their usual routine.
Those who do not have a regular physical activity pattern should follow a training plan well in advance (minimum three weeks) that includes:
- Muscle strengthening exercises: before launching into walking or running kilometers, it is necessary to develop the musculature and accustom the joints (bones, musculature, ligaments) to a physical demand. There are simple training guidelines which, ideally, should be supervised by a professional (join a sports center or contact a qualified personal trainer).
- Cardiopulmonary resistance exercises: these are the exercises that prepare our cardiorespiratory system to deliver the necessary amount of oxygen to each muscle at the right time. It is useless to focus on this block if we do not do the previous one. There are several possible disciplines (running, walking, elliptical, cycling, skating, swimming), and their progression must be gradual, adapted to our physical and muscular situation, and supervised.
With good training, most of the injuries observed in this type of event can be prevented.
The day of the race has arrived, and we are going to enjoy it. Let’s not forget to respect some tips:
- Avoid exercising on an empty stomach. Eat breakfast or lunch (depending on the schedule) at least an hour and a half before the test.
- Drink enough liquid (half a liter in the hour and a half before the race) and carry a supply of water for the course. No other supplements or special drinks are necessary. Avoid energy drinks, carbonated beverages and other commercial fads with no scientific evidence of benefit.
- Take care of your clothing and footwear. You should be provided with protection depending on the weather conditions: hat/glasses/sun cream, raincoat if it rains, windbreaker, etc. Shoes should be comfortable, do not wear them on the day of the race.
- If you need medication, make sure you take it correctly. In case of chronic illness, assess the need for rescue medication (hypoglycemia in diabetics, nitrates in coronary patients, antiepileptics, etc.).
During the race, do not forget to listen to your body’s sensations. Sometimes, despite the preparation, circumstances may arise that prevent us from meeting the goal.
In case of any alarm symptoms (chest pain, fainting sensation, palpitations, nausea, tugging or cramps), it is necessary to stop. Do not continue the test if you feel unwell, and ask for help.
In addition, if we see that a colleague seems to be in distress, we should invite him to stop the effort and ask for help. We may be at risk of a complication, the most serious being cardiorespiratory arrest. Someone who is fainting, unresponsive and not breathing should set off the alarm bells and trigger the emergency plan:
- Call the emergency service (number depending on location: 112, 091).
- Start cardiopulmonary resuscitation maneuvers.
- Request that the nearest defibrillator be located and brought to us.
Taking these guidelines into account, we are ready to undertake the test and reach the main goal: better health.