In some cases, your doctor may refer you to an exercise physiologist to do a more thorough examination of your health. An exercise physiologist will do a variety of tests to determine your fitness level, including measuring your strength, flexibility, endurance, and body fat. The physiologist may also give you a treadmill stress test, in which you walk on a treadmill while your blood pressure and heart function are monitored. The test detects how a workout affects your heart activity and blood pressure.
When You Might Need a Treadmill Stress Test
- If you are about to begin a moderate- or high-intensity exercise
- If you are over 35 and have heart disease, cardiovascular risk
factors, vascular complications, or nerve disease.
You’ll need a referral to see an exercise physiologist if your doctor does not perform the test. Many hospitals and universities have wellness programs for people with diabetes or rehabilitation programs for people who have had heart surgery or stroke. These programs offer stress tests by exercise physiologists and a full range of exercise options to get you started in a medically supervised environment.