Proceed with Caution by Steph Beth Nickel
“We strongly recommend that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.”
We’ve all read these disclaimers—and sometimes ignored them. But why is that a bad idea?
Assessment by a Personal Trainer
It wasn’t until just a few years ago that I had a physical assessment by an experienced personal trainer. She told me things I had never realized about myself. These insights changed the way I exercised. At the very least, these changes prevented me from wasting my time using machines that were not benefiting me. Even more importantly, these changes likely prevented me from exacerbating my physical issues.
This kind of an assessment can help you too, but it will not factor in considerations only your physician may discover.
Physical Examination by a Doctor
A thorough physical is important for many reasons. Kudos to those of you who get regular physicals! These exams can reveal conditions you are unaware of, conditions that may factor into your exercise routine.
Except in extreme cases, a doctor will not tell you that you shouldn’t exercise. In fact, almost all medical conditions will be more manageable with the right exercise.
Plus, the results of a physical exam and the tests that go along with it may be that extra motivation you need to get into a consistent exercise routine. Even if there are few outward signs that you need to be more active, exercise has countless health benefits.
It’s a good idea to ask your doctor specifically if there are any limitations you should consider, any forms of exercise you should stay away from or any they would recommend. If you know what type of routine you want to participate in, it can be helpful to mention it to your doctor.
Exercise Routine by You
Of course you may want to hire a personal trainer, attend classes at a gym, and / or purchase exercise DVDs, but at the end of the day, it is you who will be doing the work.
You must become body aware. The doctor—and possibly, the personal trainer who does your fitness assessment—will be able to tell you certain things you were not previously aware of. But only you can assess how it feels when you’ve done a good workout, one that leaves you tired and a little achy but not one that causes you real pain and worsens existing conditions. Learn to listen to your body.
I understand that there are extreme athletes who push themselves to the limit and then some, but I’m referring to those of us who will never fit in this category.
And no matter what category you fit into, I encourage you to visit your doctor. Consider an assessment by a personal trainer. Practice recognizing the difference between “good pain” and your body’s warning system. And always, proceed with caution.
When exercising, proceed with caution. (tweet this)