When to Consult a Doctor on an Exercise Program

Physical activity is one of the most important aspects to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We all know the benefits of regular exercise, be it weight control, strengthening bones and muscles, or for preventative measures. However, there are times when you should consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

Starting off with health conditions, you should always check with your doctor if you have:

  • Diseases like heart disease, kidney disease, or lung disease (including asthma).
  • Diabetes (types 1 and 2).
  • Joint inflammation, like arthritis, that cause pain or stiffness.
  • Been treated, or currently receiving treatment for cancer.

Other times you should consult your doctor first are:

  • If you haven’t exercised in a long time, and want to start back.
  • You feel you have any body pains or symptoms that concern you. Examples:
    • Back pain
    • Pain in your chest, neck, etc. while exercising
    • If you tend to get dizzy or lightheaded when exercising
    • If you feel your heartbeat becomes too rapid or pronounced
  • If you have high blood pressure, or are worried about high blood pressure
  • If you smoke, or used to smoke
  • Age
  • If you have a sedentary lifestyle, or are substantially overweight

While these are just a few examples of when to talk to your doctor first, a good rule of thumb to stick to is: if you have any concerns about starting a new exercise program, talk to your doctor. Physical activity is so incredibly important, but it’s meant to lead to a healthy lifestyle and not injury.

It’s the beginning of a New Year, so start smart and good luck!