When To Consult Your Doctor Before Exercising

Although moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, is safe for most individuals, it’s generally considered wise to check with a doctor before starting a new workout regimen.

When To Consult

Consulting with a physician prior to upping our activity level is especially recommended for those who are sedentary and have the following chronic health concerns:

  • Heart disease.
  • Diabetes, or kidney disease.
  • Arthritis.
  • Asthma, or lung disease.

We may shrug off a medical consultation, even with these health conditions, thinking the only thing we’ll be told is to build our endurance gradually to avoid injury. However, a doctor’s advice may be more specific to our health needs and long term well-being than we imagine.

Someone with heart disease, for instance, might be referred by a physician to a group exercise program supervised by medical personnel. Individuals with arthritis may learn which exercises aggravate painful joints, instead of relieving them. A person with diabetes could need some education about managing glucose levels with increased activity.

Symptoms To Report

It’s also important to see our physician if symptoms related to serious diseases occur during or after exercise:

  • Chest, neck, arm, or jaw pain/discomfort during physical activity.
  • Shortness of breath during mild exertion, or when at rest, lying down, or going to bed.
  • Dizziness or fainting with physical exertion.
  • Pronounced, or rapid heartbeat.
  • Ankle swelling, particularly at night.
  • Pain in the lower leg when walking, which goes away with rest.
  • An earlier diagnosed heart murmur.

Reporting these symptoms to our doctor when they first occur may save us emergency room visits, hospital stays, and other medical costs later on.

Vigorous Exercise Cautions

For individuals who plan to engage in more vigorous or intense exercise the American College of Sports Medicine recommends a medical consultation for anyone answering “yes” to two or more of the following:

  • You are a male above the age 45, or a female above 55.
  • There is heart disease before age 55 for men, and before 65 for women in your family history.
  • You have pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance).
  • You smoked, or quit smoking within the past six months.
  • You are overweight, or obese.
  • The past three or more months you have exercised for fewer than 30 minutes, three day per week.
  • Your cholesterol or blood pressure is elevated.

An active lifestyle is vital for good long term health, and regular exercise is a standard aspect of diabetes management. We just need to make sure that the activities we choose are in-line with our body’s strengths and limitations. A consult with our doctor can help us determine that.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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