Exercise: When to check with your doctor first

If you’ve ever watched a fitness video or DVD, you’ve probably seen the warning to check with your doctor before starting a new fitness routine. But do you really need to call your doctor before getting back to the gym?

While physical activity is generally safe for most healthy people, it might be important for you to talk to a doctor before starting a new exercise routine if:

  • You’ve had a heart attack.
  • You have lung problems, including asthma or lung disease.
  • You have a chronic condition such as diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, or kidney disease.
  • You experience pain when you exercise.
  • You have joint or bone problems, including previous joint replacement surgery, arthritis, or osteoporosis.
  • You get dizzy, lose your balance, or lose consciousness.
  • You take medication for a chronic medical condition.
  • You’re pregnant.
  • You have high blood pressure or cholesterol.
  • You smoke or have smoked in the past six months.
  • You’re overweight or obese.

Of course, if you’re unsure of the current status of your health, it’s always best to check with your doctor before making any drastic lifestyle changes. Your physician will be able to help you get an accurate picture of your current health and let you know about any precautions you may need to take when starting a new fitness program for weight loss. They may also recommend follow-up appointments to see how your body and any current health conditions are responding to increased physical activity.