If you are over 35 and are not able to make a claim of being in the pink of health, it may be useful to undertake a stress test. This is especially true for people with a family history which include a predisposition toward cardiac or diabetic conditions.
A stress test, best done in a laboratory, is where they test your ability to run or cycle while monitoring your heart beat, blood pressure and breathing. The simplest version of this involves using an Electrocardiogram (ECG) where they monitor your heart beat or pulse. This also tracks possible irregularities in the manner in which your heart beats. More sophisticated versions of this test include a nuclear stress test, which involves scanning your heart after injecting it with dyes.
The test indicates the levels of plaque (fatty deposits) build up in your arteries and the resultant ability of your heart to pump blood efficiently. Research shows that build up of plaque is reversible to an extent if you exercise and eat mindfully. Eating of dark sugarless chocolate or pomegranate helps in reducing plaque build up. Therefore understanding the condition of your body is beneficial. With most medical tests, a false positive is also possible and therefore doing a stress test just for the heck of it is not advised according to doctors in the Harvard Medical Journal. However, if you intend to change a passive lifestyle by working out including running, strength training or other vigorous exercises, a stress test should be the first step.