Exercise can help just about anyone feel and look better. However, some people should be cautious about beginning an exercise program. A doctor can help assess your risks and plan a program that is safe for you.

If you do not currently exercise, speak to your doctor before you begin, especially if any of the situations described below apply to you.

See a doctor if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Any serious medical condition like diabetes, asthma, emphysema, cancer, or a history of blood clots in your legs or lungs.
  • Pain or pressure in the chest, neck, shoulder, or arm during or right after activities such as walking.
  • Bone or joint problems, including arthritis or osteoporosis (especially arthritis that has flared up so that one or more of your joints is red, swollen, or painful).
  • A heart condition, angina (chest pain), high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.

Also, see a doctor if any of the following apply to you:

  • Over age 40 or 45, and have not been active.
  • Feel very breathless after mild activity.
  • Tend to get dizzy, lose consciousness, or are subject to falls.
  • Have experienced a feeling of your heart racing, skipping, or fluttering.
  • Have had recent surgery, particularly to the eye or hip.
  • Have an active infection or fever.
  • Are experiencing any other unusual symptoms, such as unexplained weight loss
  • You smoke.

Ok, so you know exercise is good for you and you've talked about it with your doctor. It's time to get started! Read on...

Review Date: 6/28/2011

Reviewed By: Jeffrey Heit, MD, Internist with special emphasis on preventive health, fitness and nutrition, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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