Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Is it okay to start an exercise program without talking to a doctor?"
Want to get in shape so my friend gave me a work out regimen to do. Is it okay to just start exercising if I'm really out of shape?
This depends a lot on your age, sex, and what medical problems you may have. For most young people, as long as they are otherwise healthy and do not have any serious symptoms, like chest pain, shortness of breath, or palpitations, it is safe to begin a moderately intense aerobic exercise problem without going to see your doctor. However, if you have any symptoms that might be related to your heart, if you have any significant medical history, or if you have any family history of serious heart disease or cardiac arrest, it is worth while to touch base with your primary care doctor before starting a vigorous exercise program. For older individuals, especially older men or others who have a higher risk of heart disease, it is quite important to talk to your doctor first. The main reason for this, of course, is to make sure that there is no underlying heart disease that could lead to problems with exercise (such as a heart attack). Based on your risk factors, your doctor may want an electrical tracing of the heart (electrocardiogram) or a stress test (treadmill test) prior to permitting you to begin exercise. Start by talking with your primary care doctor!
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