Should you consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine?

Doctors appointment

If you want to start a new exercise routine, should the doctor's office be your first stop? 

This question pops up frequently, and it's important one. You're in the right place if you're wondering whether to consult your doctor before jumping into a new exercise programme.

Perhaps you're worried about the possible risks and asking yourself 'Should I be exercising at all?'

However, the question we'd rather you ask is 'What's the right exercise for me?'.

Everyone can benefit from being more active and doing exercises that are suited to their current level of health and fitness.

The key is to find the best type of exercise for you, and to learn what it feels like when you're working out at the right level for you (doing enough to benefit without overdoing it). 

So, how can your doctor help you here? 

If exercise could be packaged in a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.

Robert Butler, National Institute on Aging (USA)

When to seek medical advice

Certain medical conditions do call for a conversation with your healthcare provider before you take up any form of exercise. A few examples include:

  • Angina at rest or during light exercise (unstable angina)
  • Heart failure
  • Poorly controlled diabetes
  • New or uncontrolled arrhythmia or tachycardia
  • Resting blood pressure higher than 180/100 mmHg
  • Systemic hypotension (low blood pressure)

Avoid starting a new exercise programme now if:

  • You are currently unwell with an infection, or cold, flu-like symptoms
  • You have recently had an accident, medical treatment (including surgery) or a new diagnosis

Following doctor's orders

It's very unlikely that your doctor will advise you not to exercise at all. 

Most likely, they will advise certain types of exercise that they think will be most beneficial for you. 

Your doctor can't give you a 100% safety guarantee for any activity. To ensure you can exercise safely and make the most of what you're doing, we recommend having an in-depth conversation and asking as many questions as you can. 

Go prepared

Explain what type of exercise you want to do - the more information you can provide, the better. 

If you will be going to a class or working with a specific instructor, you could ask them to prepare a summary of the programme for your doctor. 

What to ask your doctor

Here are some questions you can ask:

  • Are there any specific activities, movements or situations you should avoid?
  • Are their recommendations permanent or just for a set period of time?
  • Are there any warning signs you should look out for? (eg. if you are diabetic, you should know the signs of a hypoglycaemic attack)

If you are worried about your balance, you might want to read this article about whether you should consult your doctor about your balance.

Confidence is key

You're more likely to embrace and maintain an exercise routine if you feel confident starting off. So, check in with your doctor to discuss any concerns you might have.

After your doctor gives you the green light, we recommend finding an exercise specialist who is qualified and experienced.  Share your doctor's recommendations to ensure they can give you the most tailored support. 

Why wait?

Exercise packs a preventive punch against a range of health issues. 

It has been proven to prevent conditions including dementia, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, depression and heart disease - reducing the risk of each by at least 30% *.

Everyone benefits from doing the right type of exercise, at the right level for them. When you're more active, you're going to feel better now and maintain your health for the long term. 

So, unless your doctor advises otherwise, why not take the leap and start your new exercise routine today? 

Have you heard about the Studio from Vida Wellness?

The Studio from Vida Wellness is an online exercise studio for people who want to exercise at home to improve their balance, feel stronger and move more easily.

If you enjoy reading our articles and doing our exercise videos, the Studio could be perfect for you!

Click here to learn about the Video Library, Knowledge Zone and how you can get advice and support in the Studio.

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All material in this article and video is provided for information and educational purposes only. It is not advice and should not be relied on as such. Always consult an exercise or health professional if you have any health issues and need personalised advice. With this in mind, we hope you enjoy reading our articles and watching our videos.

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