5 Diagnostic Tests Runners Need to Perform Regularly
Most of us started running because we want to stay fit and healthy. And it’s true, we have heard a lot of stories about people losing weight, getting stronger, healthier and more active because of running.
Consistently running a few times a week can have a tremendous effect on your health, I for one have reaped the benefits of running for more than 7 years.
However, as human beings, we tend to abuse our new found fitness, constantly trying to push ourselves to the limit, conquering new miles, breaking PRs, and neglecting proper rest and recovery. We unknowingly negate the positive benefits of running.
Side Story: I personally got a bit of a scare when my pee turned brown after my Milo Marathon last July 31, honestly due to a recurring lower back problem I wasn’t able to really prepare for this race, I consulted a doctor and she told me it might have been Rhabdomyolysis.
Rhabdomyolysis (which can be caused by extreme physical exercise) is a condition in which damaged skeletal striated muscle breaks down rapidly. Breakdown products of damaged muscle cells are released into the bloodstream; some of these, such as the protein myoglobin, are harmful to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure. ~ Wikipedia
Yes guys, marathon or long distance running is no joke and without proper training and recovery, it can really cause harm to your body. What happened to me might be a bit extreme, but there are also cases when runners are hospitalized because of low potassium and other electrolytes in the body.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and it’s also great to ace your next race knowing your body is in tip-top condition.
5 Diagnostic Test Runners need to Perform Regularly
1. Complete Blood Count – commonly known as CBC, the test gives important information about your overall health by analyzing the total amount of red and white blood cells, your doctor can immediately have an idea of your overall health. It also helps your doctor check for weakness, signs of fatigue or bruising you might have.
2. Electrolyte Levels – most of us are aware that as we exercise our body lose more than just water but precious electrolytes as well, so we’re used to drinking sports drinks like Pocari Sweat to make sure we replenish our body.
But did you know that there’s a test to accurately check your electrolyte levels? With a simple blood test, modern equipment can now accurately check the levels of sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium in your body. Electrolyte imbalance is known to have symptoms like lethargy, fatigue, irregular hearbeat and many more.
3. Creatinine Blood Test – “Creatinine is a chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism”, and one of the main function of our kidneys is to maintain the creatinine levels in our body at normal range.
A very high creatinine does not always necessarily mean you’re having kidney failure, this can be due to excessive intake of protein and creatine supplements that you’re kidney is unable to regulate efficiently, this test could be a call for action to people who loves chugging protein shakes.
4. Fasting Blood Sugar (FBS) Test – Love GU Gels and Energy Bars? Yes, as runners sugar is definitely our friend, it provides us the energy we need to complete a marathon or a triathlon event. But it also means we need to make sure our body sugar levels are in check.
Fasting blood sugar (FBS) measures blood glucose after you have not eaten for at least 8 hours, this test is primarily performed to check for prediabetes and diabetes. We might love the effects of sugar, but it’s best to check if we’re at risk as well in consuming too much.
5. Electrocardiogram (ECG) Test – PUSO! Yes, as active individuals we put our heart into a lot of stress (sometimes unnecessary), so it’s vital to check if our heart is still at peak condition.
An EGC records the electrical activity of the heart and detect areas of muscle damage, thickness, blood flow and can give a general understanding of how well your heart is performing.
RELATED: Check your Fitness Level from Within
Make sure your FIT inside and out, running has a lot of positive benefits and has already been our lifestyle, doing the basic 5 test mentioned above can be a indicator that you are reaping the benefits of living an active lifestyle, it can also serve as an early warning sign if we’re going too extreme. So make sure to test yourself periodically or at least yearly.
Oh, for those wondering what happened to my Rhabdomyolysis symptom, glad to say that after a few litters of water, I took an additional Urine test, and there was no sign of PROTIEN in the urine sample and everything was in the clear. The dark pee may have been caused by pushing myself too much on my last race, and this incident will always remind me to make sure to have proper training before getting myself into something my body is not prepared for.