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Are You Ready To Workout? -7 Questions to Answer Before Starting an Exercise Program

Posted Jul 22 2010 4:26am

Congratulations! You have made the decision to increase your physical activity level but before you begin it is imperative that you answer the following questions before you begin.  Taking the time to do so can help rule out any underlying health concerns that could worsen with exercise. These questions come from The PAR-Q (Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire), which is the gold standard in fitness safety, used by doctors, trainers and health clubs the world over.

Answer yes or no to the following questions.

1. Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and that you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor?

2. Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity?

3. In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not doing physical activity?

4. Do you lose your balance because of dizziness or do you ever lose consciousness?

5. Do you have a bone or joint problem (for example, back, knee, or hip) that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity?

6. Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs (for example, water pills) for your blood pressure or heart condition?

7. Do you know of any other reason why you should not do physical activity?

If you answer YES to any of the questions above, you must check in with your doctor and get cleared for exercise before you start. You can download or print a copy of the official PAR-Q form for your records, courtesy of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) by clicking here .

Also, if you have any chronic medical conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or arthritis) or risk factors (such as smoking or being more than 20 pounds overweight), and have not talked about exercising with your doctor, you should do so before you start. Exercise is often an important part of the treatment for many of those conditions, but you may find you have some limitations or special needs that your doctor can highlight for you.

One last note, remember the golden rule of exercise safety.

Start slowly, and build up the intensity and duration of your exercise gradually.

Trying to make up for lost time, or go from a couch potato to training like an elite athlete overnight, is a prescription for problems.

Quote of the Day: “Better a thousand times careful than once dead.”  ~ Proverb

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