What Is Medical Clearance?

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  • Written By: Kelly Ferguson
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2019
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Before beginning a new exercise program or undergoing a medical procedure such as surgery, an individual may be advised to obtain medical clearance from his or her doctor. Getting clearance for an activity essentially means that the doctor believes the individual's state of health is good enough that performing the activity is either not likely to cause harm or, at the very least, the benefits outweigh the risks. Most of the time, the doctor will need to provide this clearance in written form, usually as a signature on a form that outlines the medical procedure or fitness plan in detail.

Most, if not all, professional personal fitness trainers require new clients to obtain medical clearance before any training takes place. This is both to ensure the client's safety and avoid legal trouble if the exercise the trainer recommends aggravates an existing health condition. Personal fitness trainers are also likely to have high-risk clients, such as those over a certain age or who have known conditions like heart disease or diabetes, return to the doctor on a regular basis and renew the medical clearance in case a pre-existing condition has become worse or a new condition has developed.


Sometimes, surgeons require a patient to obtain clearance from his or her doctor or specialist before agreeing to perform surgery. This is especially true before very intensive or invasive surgeries and for patients with known health conditions. For example, a person with a heart condition might be required to get medical clearance from his or her cardiologist before receiving surgery, even if the surgery is for unrelated reasons. The stress of the surgery on the body and the following recovery is often what concerns surgeons the most about patients with poor health, although the anesthesia used during the procedure carries risks as well.

The actual process of obtaining medical clearance is fairly simple for most reasonably healthy people. An individual looking to start with a personal fitness trainer would likely only need to see his or her general physician for a routine checkup. The personal trainer would have provided a medical clearance form that informs the doctor of the kinds of exercises the client will be performing and any other important information the trainer believes the doctor should know. After the client gets the clearance form signed by the doctor, he or she is generally accepted by the trainer, and the training may begin.


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Post 4

It makes sense to get medical clearance for strenuous exercise. Any person who is overweight or who has led a sedentary lifestyle could easily have a heart attack if they had clogged arteries and didn't know it or maybe had really high blood pressure.

I've never worked with a personal trainer, but if I chose to, I would want to have a physical first. I do light exercise like walking now, but if I were to try some serious cardiovascular workout, I would like to know that I wouldn't drop dead on the spot!

Post 3

@lighth0se33 – Yes, you do need medical clearance to join. There are a lot of conditions that could disqualify a person, and I have a feeling that many people don't know this until they try to get clearance.

Some workplaces that have their workers do physical labor also require medical clearance. I have a feeling that their restrictions might be less strict than those of the military, though.

My husband works in a warehouse lifting heavy boxes all day, and he had to have medical clearance to get this job. I don't know what he'll do if he one day discovers he has some sort of condition that would disqualify him.

Post 2

Do people need medical clearance to join the military? I've been thinking of joining, but I have a kidney condition, so I'm not sure they'd want me.

Post 1

I can certainly understand why someone would need medical clearance for surgery. So many risks are involved while you are under and being cut into!

It opens up your body to all kinds of issues, from infection to cardiac arrest. No surgeon would want to perform an operation that would likely result in death or some other kind of disaster, and medical clearance is a little bit of insurance against that.

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