Staying physically active is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and regular exercise is a great way to keep your body and mind healthy in a variety of ways. Whether you are just starting to work out or currently live an active lifestyle and want to challenge yourself more, it is always important to talk with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
Your Doctor Usually Knows What is Best
While you know your body the best, visiting your doctor before exercising can still be helpful because they may be able to identify things problems in your body that are difficult to self-diagnose. By talking to your doctor, they can advise you on what type of exercise program may or may not be the best fit based on your physical ability. For instance, if you have never run in your life starting with a beginner’s program or a steady jog would be safer than suddenly trying to run a 5K.
Additionally, your physician will be able to tell you if you should be exercising more based on your current physical condition or if you need to slow down to avoid overworking your body.
Keep in mind that moderate physical activity is generally safe for most people. For example, a brisk walk would be okay to take every day, but anything more strenuous could cause a problem to arise until your body gets used to the activity.
To be proactive, here are some tips for when you should talk with your doctor before exercising:
- You have an ongoing or existing medical issue like high blood pressure or cholesterol, asthma, diabetes, joint pain, et cetera.
- You just underwent any type of medical procedure.
- You are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
- You feel like you are significantly overweight.
- You are regularly being seen by a doctor for a medical condition.
- You are not currently physically active for at least 30 minutes two to three days a week.
Still Exercising? You Still Talk to Your Physician
Keep your doctor’s phone number handy, because every once in a while they can provide an assessment to see if it you need to slow down or if you can do more. If you are easing back into a regular exercise program, you should not be running long distances or lifting extremely heavy weights right off the bat.
Likewise, if you are more advanced, listen to your body and take a rest and try not to push yourself too far. Sometimes, pushing your body too far with exercise can be just as detrimental as not exercising at all, so always err on the side of caution.
Here are some situations where you should call your doctor while you are working out:
- You have shortness of breath often or get dizzy and lightheaded easy
- Experience any pain or numbness in muscles or joints for an extended amount of time
- If you get serious headaches during and after working out
- Your heartbeat is very pronounced or rapid
- You have extreme lower back or lower leg pain during normal, everyday activities even during rest
It should also go without saying that if you feel like you have hurt yourself in any way, shape or form during exercise that you should call your doctor immediately. Even if the pain or discomfort of a movement is mild or last for a short time that is enough cause to go in for a check-up.
Always Listen to Your Body
At any time if you feel the least bit unhealthy, do not hesitate to consult with your doctor. Sometimes when something may not feel like a big deal to you, there could be an underlying issue and a simple check-up could provide an easy remedy. Stay proactive by listening to your body and talk with a physician before you start a new, more rigorous program or about using certain equipment.
By talking with your doctor, together you can address any unique challenges you may have towards physical activity. Some can even make a specialized diet and exercise plan tailored to fit your own needs and goals. Your doctor can easily provide you an assessment of your current fitness level to help you learn where it is appropriate to start. Remember, working with your doctor is a great first step to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.