Q: What is an HRA and do you think I need one?
A: For most individuals, aerobic exercise is a very safe endeavor. For a few people, however, exercise can involve a substantial degree of risk.
Accordingly, it is advisable that all adults undergo some type of pre-activity health risk appraisal (HRA) before initiating an aerobic exercise program and, on a periodic basis thereafter, to identify any subsequent changes in the individual's health status.
A pre-activity HRA is important for a number of reasons, including:
Source: Bryant, Cedric X. 101 Frequently Asked Questions about "Health & Fitness" and "Nutrition & Weight Control". Sagamore Publishing, 1999.
- To identify and exclude individuals with medical contraindications to exercise.
- To assure the safety of exercise testing and exercise programs.
- To determine the appropriate exercise test or exercise program for an individual.
- To identify individuals with clinically significant disease conditions who should be referred to a medically supervised exercise program.
- To identify individuals with either disease symptoms or risk factors for disease who should receive further medical evaluation before initiating an exercise program.
- To identify individuals who have special needs that might preclude them from safely participating in physical activity.
- To provide information that might serve as the basis for advice given to an individual regarding the relationship between good health and that person's behavior as it relates to physical activity and the risk of developing heart disease, orthopedic problems, metabolic conditions, or other diseases.
- To obtain information to motivate an individual toward meaningful lifestyle changes.
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