Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day for adults, so it’s great that you are thinking about starting a health program.
Health programs can be casual, or structured; maybe you will record your steps on your smartphone, or maybe you will work with a personal trainer and nutritionist.
Either way, whatever gets you moving, works! There are reasons you should see a doctor before you start on any new type of health program, though.
Here’s why it’s important to see your doctor before starting a health program:
You Have Existing Health Conditions
Having any type of chronic, or ongoing medical condition warrants a visit to your doctor before starting a new health program. For example:
- If you have heart disease or any types of circulatory problems, such as peripheral artery disease (PAD), ask your doctor what types of exercise are safe and effective for you. Equally important, ask before taking any supplements or changing what you eat and drink.
- If you have asthma or any other type of lung condition, such as COPD, talk with your doctor about making an action plan. An action plan is a written set of guidelines about what is safe for you and how to recognize if you are having symptoms of your lung disease. Especially important are instructions about what to do if you have a flare-up of your symptoms (such as an asthma attack) while you are exercising. Exercise can be beneficial for people with lung disease, but it’s very important to be examined first. Your doctor will recommend specific types of exercise based on your physical health.
- If you have diabetes, especially if you take insulin. Be sure to talk with your doctor about how to stay safe during exercise. Too-low blood sugar levels can be dangerous, while too-high blood sugar levels post long-term health risks. Diet is just as important as physical activity. With diabetes, it is always a balancing act; talk with your doctor about how to maintain balance by adding healthy exercise into your life.
Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with a medical condition, check with your doctor if you have noticed these symptoms:
- Shortness of breath at night, or when you move around or walk slowly.
- Swelling of your ankles.
- Rapid heartbeat or sensation that your heart is pounding heavily in your chest.
- Leg pain that flares when you walk but gets better when you rest.
- Fainting or feeling dizzy when you exercise.
You have a history of:
- A family member who has been or was diagnosed with heart disease under the age of 60.
- You are a smoker, or have just recently quit within the last six months.
- You are 35 or older
- You are overweight, or obese.
- You have disability. Talk with your doctor about accessibility at recreational facilities and specialized programs that can help you stay active and safe.
- You are pregnant, or think that you may be.
Staying physically active will help you stay healthy and make you feel good, too. But to get healthy, you have to make sure you aren’t putting yourself at risk. If you have questions about what types of exercise are safe for you, or to schedule an appointment, call us today. Dr. Issam Soussou, a vascular and general surgeon, specializes in the comprehensive diagnosis and management of diseases and disorders affecting the arteries, veins, and lymphatic system.
To learn more about what physical activity is safe for you or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Soussou, call Intercoastal Medical Group at our Cattleridge office in Sarasota, Florida. You can also request an appointment online now.