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Making Sure You are Fit for Exercise

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 1 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
  blood Pressure Diabetes Muscles

Most people assume that the first stop on the road to better fitness and health is the local sports shop. But there is a piece of equipment much more fundamental than running shoes shorts or a leotard that needs to be sorted before filling up the wardrobe with exercise clothing, and that’s your body.

Nobody likes visiting their local GP’s surgery, but it should be viewed not simply as a place of last resort when you feel unwell. The old saying that prevention is better than cure has never had as much relevance, and family doctors are always happy to offer individuals simple checks such as blood pressure level and a blood test for diabetes as well as discuss strategies that can guard against conditions developing later in life either through poor diet or lifestyle.

Muscles and Joints

So having made the decision to get moving, you’ve made the first positive step. No doubt your doctor will be happy to hear that, but he or she will want to double check that you are healthy enough to start putting the extra strain on your muscles, organs and joints that your new regime will bring.

You may feel fit and healthy but it never hurts just to double check. Discuss your intended programme with your doctor, too, who may be able to make some positive input in terms of recommending how much work you should initially be putting in and how quickly you can begin to increase the frequency of your exercise sessions.

Contacting a GP is essential for those with pre-existing conditions, such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes or arthritis. Again, discuss the types of exercise you envisage taking, and how frequently. The doctor will be encouraging but will, naturally, be anxious to ensure that there won’t be any risk involved, for example, by taking classes where high-impact routines are involved. The same cautious approach will be taken when assessing the exercise options for pregnant women.

Explain the Symptoms

Once the doctor has given you the all clear, aim for steady progress in order to avoid injuries that are the result of trying too hard, too soon. And, of course, if any problems such as shortness of breath or chest pain occur either during or after exercise, make sure you book an appointment and explain the symptoms to your doctor. Remember that you began this journey to get your body in better shape, so listen to it, and act on the danger signs rather than hoping they will simply disappear.

All sound a little daunting? Well, there is nothing wrong with caution. Remember that it is likely your body hasn’t been asked any serious physical questions for a considerable amount of time, so it can’t be expected to turn from an old banger into a Baby Bentley overnight. Ease your muscles and joints back into the exercise groove and they will respond much more positively. Not only will you feel the benefit, but your efforts are bound to put a smile on your GP’s face. In short, it will be just what the doctor ordered.

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