Everything from exercise equipment like treadmills and Stairmasters to exercise videos to gym memberships caution users to consult a physician before starting an exercise regime, especially for those who are new to working out or haven’t worked out in a long period of time.
But why is a consultation necessary?
First, physical activity and exercise are vital to practicing healthy living, but before beginning a new routine, it’s important to speak with a doctor to test exercise stress levels unique to each individual.
Secondly, according to board-certified orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Michael Domer said, “while rare, serious complication can occur from starting a new exercise program without seeking a doctor’s advice first. For instance, those patients who have had orthopaedic procedures may have certain restrictions placed on them for safety issues, and your physician can give you the best guidelines on what you can or cannot do.”
Finally, while most consider injury to the muscles, joints and ligaments the worst complication that can happen from exercise, Dr. Domer said that the most important reason to consult a physician before beginning a new fitness regime is to make sure organs besides the musculoskeletal system, like the heart, lungs and kidneys, will be able to tolerate the increased stress.
Who should see their doctor?
According to some doctors, it is usually safe for people in their 20s to start exercising. For everyone else who falls under any of the following categories, consulting a doctor before starting an exercise routine is always recommended.
- chest pain or pain in the neck and/or arm
- shortness of breath
- a diagnosed heart condition
- joint and/or bone problems
- currently taking cardiac and/or blood pressure medications
- have not previously been physically active
According to the Mayo Clinic: Although moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking, is safe for most people, health experts suggest that you talk to your doctor before you start an exercise program if any of the following apply:
- You have heart disease.
- You have asthma or lung disease.
- You have diabetes, or liver or kidney disease.
- You have arthritis.
You should also check with your doctor if you have symptoms suggestive of heart, lung or other serious disease, such as:
- Pain or discomfort in your chest, neck, jaw or arms during physical activity
- Dizziness or loss of consciousness
- Shortness of breath with mild exertion or at rest, or when lying down or going to bed
- Ankle swelling, especially at night
- A heart murmur or a rapid or pronounced heartbeat
- Muscle pain when walking upstairs or up a hill that goes away when you rest
Finally, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you see your doctor before engaging in vigorous exercise if two or more of the following apply:
- You’re a man older than age 45 or a woman older than age 55.
- You have a family history of heart disease before age 55.
- You smoke or you quit smoking in the past six months.
- You haven’t exercised for three months or more.
- You’re overweight or obese.
- You have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- You have impaired glucose tolerance, also called prediabetes.
How to start a new exercise program
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About OrthoArizona – Arcadia
OrthoArizona – Arcadia strives to improve the quality of life of its patients and their families through outstanding orthopaedic care. OrthoArizona – Arcadia is committed to excellence by pledging to provide the highest quality of orthopaedic care possible. Along with the treatment of immediate or chronic problems, top-rated and board certified orthopaedic surgeons strive to integrate the doctrine of prevention in all treatment plans as a way to alleviate possible future difficulties.