In the aftermath of the demise of Kannada film actor Puneeth Rajkumar, Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said the government is looking at framing guidelines for gymnasiums in order to avoid health emergencies.
The minister said he consulted cardiologists including Dr CN Manjunath, Dr Vivek Jawali and Dr Rangadhama and the guidelines would be out soon.
Director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, Dr C N Manjunath, told The Indian Express that it is imperative for gymnasiums to adopt proper guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOPs) to avert any eventuality. “Fitness enthusiasts get into competition and indulge in high intensity exercises which could affect the cardio-vascular system. In this regard, some guidelines will be framed. For example, those registering for the gym should have a thorough cardiac evaluation conducted by cardiologists, including ECG and treadmill test. This is important to understand the risk. It is better to have a small resuscitative unit in the gym along with a desimulator. This will ensure health safety,” he informed.
Dr Vivek Jawali, Chief of Cardio Thoracic Vascular Sciences at Fortis Hospitals, said an ECG, echocardiogram and stress test should be sufficient to screen out high-risk individuals.
“It will be prudent to get a proper cardiac evaluation before signing up for a gym programme. Candidates with a history of syncope (fainting) or family history of sudden death have to be very careful and definitely not join any gym for vigorous exercise before getting fully evaluated. Many deaths are arrhythmic, in addition to heart attacks. Most of them are preventable if proper precautions are observed,” he said.
Dr Jawali suggested that early morning isometric exercises like brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, badminton and so on should preferably be done 40 minutes daily or 150 minutes weekly before 10 am, rather than carrying out these exercises in the evening hours which involves risk as the person is relatively exhausted and dehydrated.
“Exercising vigorously with high BP or sugar without a prior screening and evaluation is also dangerous,” he stated.
Dr Jawali advised against starting vigorous exercises post Covid for at least the first three months without an echocardiogram evaluation, besides periodic D-dimer monitoring (for blood clots) prior to involvement in any health enhancing physical activity.