Getting an annual physical seems like the smart, grown-up thing to do, but then again, so does finding a job with decent insurance. Easier said than done!
In theory, though, it's a reasonable concept: You typically have your vitals checked, maybe get some routine blood work, and exaggerate to your doctor just how often you work out and how few alcoholic beverages you have a week.
But repeating the same exam every year may be a thing of the past. In fact, many doctors and researchers agree that the idea of an annual physical isn't just a waste of time and money, it could actually be doing more harm in the long run. Obviously you can't avoid your doctor forever, but how often do you actually need to pay him or her a visit?
Healthy people don't need a yearly physical
It's always great to check in with your doctor from time to time, especially if you notice a major change in your health. But for the most part, the average healthy person can hold off on seeing the doctor every year.
"There really is no necessity to insist on an annual physical for reasonably healthy people with no actual complaints or concerns," says Dr. Malcolm Thaler, a provider at One Medical. He adds that if a patient really wants an annual physical (for whatever reason), he won't discourage it, mostly because it fosters a healthy rapport between doctor and patient. But the nuts and bolts of a physical exam are totally unnecessary for people in good health.