Whether you're already an experienced runner or a complete novice, setting goals -- like running a half marathon -- can provide the motivation to lace-up those runners each day. But when you're tackling longer distances and putting your body under more strain than usual, it's worth keeping in mind that checking in with your GP can ensure you reach the finish line injury free. "A GP might say, 'let's have a look at you, what's your height and weight? Is your time frame realistic?" says Dr Tellis. "They might advise you to look out for shin splints, or what to do if you're experiencing shortness of breath or chest pains." And let's be real, we're not all just born with a runner's physique. So if you are concerned about getting in better shape for the big race, it's worth raising with your doctor. "For a half-marathon, we'd also be advising what you should be eating and drinking and how many calories you should be consuming on a daily basis," Dr Tellis says.
The Soon-To-Be Traveller
Whether you're planning a tour of Europe, a week partying in Bali or a volunteering trip to Africa, your GP can offer you a wealth of advice. That includes options for travel vaccinations, food safety measures to take abroad, and what to include in your first-aid kit. "I also recommend to everyone get the best travel insurance they can afford and to take a close look at the exclusions in there," says Dr Tellis. "For example, if you go to Bali and get on a scooter after drinking beers, you may not be covered by travel insurance -- the cost of medical repatriation from Bali to Australia could be as high as six figures."
The Couple Planning A Family
You don't need to wait until you fall pregnant for a trip to the GP -- their advice can assist all couples with a healthy conception and pregnancy, by looking at your lifestyle and what might need changing from diet, to sleep, smoking, alcohol and drug consumption. "For women, you want to be taking vitamins with the right amount of folate. You want to be making sure your pap smear, dental checks and rubella vaccination is up to date and that you've had your flu shot," says Dr Tellis. "For guys, you want to be sure you're not smoking dope or drinking too much, you want to be looking after your weight and your partner as well,"
The Exhausted Gym Bunny
What happens when you think you're healthy -- and hitting the gym regularly -- but still feeling exhausted or in pain? A trip to the GP can help pinpoint the cause, and advise on how you can change your training regimen to avoid injury. "A lot of men will hit the gym and do things likely to cause an injury or problem down the track... or they'll find that big guy at the gym who has some interesting pharmaceuticals of his own. Again, that's something we can give advice on," says Dr. Tellis Meanwhile, women may be suffering from undiagnosed mineral deficiencies, leading to tiredness. "A lot of women can be iron deficient," explains Dr Tellis, who says he'd ask: "How much sleep are you getting, what are you doing in the gym, is it sustainable to be working 50 hours a week and getting up at 5am daily for Crossfit? Is your thyroid okay, are you getting enough calories in?"
The Stressed Out Comfort Eater
When you're working long hours and feeling stressed, it can be easy to find yourself regularly turning to unhealthy fast food lunches or indulging in sugar-filled snacks. While it may be something you feel reluctant to bring up, there are plenty of lifestyle suggestions, resources and referrals that a GP can provide, as well as simply lending a supportive ear. "Part of the skill of being a GP is picking your moments to start a conversation about delicate subjects. Some people come in ready to talk about their weight, some do not. I generally take a weight as part of my routine clinical review/examination, and discuss as I, and the patient, feel appropriate," says Dr Tellis. He explains there are plenty of ways a GP could assist someone with issues stemming from stress and over eating. It may be a discussion about healthy diet -- including good food choices, a better routine and when to eat -- or stress management advice, and if necessary, a psychology or counselling referral. "What I would like to say as a doctor is that the door is open. Come in and say hello. You set the agenda as the patient."
If you're concerned about weight gain -- or simply want to know how to maintain a healthy weight -- your GP can provide advice on weight loss solutions. Put Your Doctor On Your Side offers weight assesment tools, a simple quiz to help you discover whether you're ready to lose weight, and details on exactly how health professionals can help you.