Your Fitness Resolution Solution – Checking With Your Doctor Before Exercising


You’ve made a resolution to get active and exercise more.  Congratulations!  You’ve taken the first step towards a healthier lifestyle!

We often hear, when starting an exercise plan, that we should consult our physician before we begin a workout program.  Most don’t take that advice when jumping on the treadmill or picking up the free weights for the first time, but are we putting ourselves in danger by not consulting with a medical professional before embarking on a fitness routine?

According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine, especially if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • You have heart disease.
  • You have asthma or lung disease.
  • You have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
  • You have kidney disease.
  • You have arthritis.
  • You’re being treated for cancer, or you have recently completed cancer treatment.

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, lightheadedness, or fainting with exercise or exertion
  • Shortness of breath with mild exertion, at rest, or when lying down or going to bed
  • Ankle swelling, especially at night
  • A rapid or pronounced heartbeat
  • A heart murmur that your doctor has previously diagnosed
  •  Lower leg pain when you walk, which goes away with 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 older than 35 years.
  • You have a family history of heart disease before age 60.
  • You smoke or you quit smoking in the past six months.
  • You don’t normally exercise for at least 30 minutes, most days of the week.
  • You’re significantly overweight.
  • You have high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
  • You have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, or you have impaired glucose tolerance (also called prediabetes).

Lastly, if you’re unsure of your health status, have multiple health problems or are pregnant, speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Working with your doctor or consulting your physical therapist ahead of time can help you plan the exercise program that’s right for you. And that’s a good first step on your path to physical fitness.  Our therapists are always available to answer your questions about working out safely.  Call us today at 203-879-0107.