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Starting a New Exercise Routine? Know When to See Your Doctor

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Beginning a new exercise program is generally safe for most people. However, some people need to be careful when beginning new or more difficult physical activities due to underlying health conditions. But how do you know if you're one of the former or the latter? It's always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen regardless of how healthy you think you are. However, you should definitely see your doctor if you have any of the following risk factors or symptoms. 

Before Beginning a New Routine

If you have any sort of illness that could make exercise dangerous for you, a doctor's appointment is a must. Make an appointment if you have any serious health condition, such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease or a terminal illness. You should also make an appointment if more than one of the following apply to you:

  • Family history of early heart disease
  • Recent smoking cessation
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Overweight or obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Oder than 35 years

These factors will probably not prevent you from starting your new exercise routine, but it's important for your doctor to evaluate you and see what types of activities would be best for your individual circumstances. In the rare even that you cannot engage in your intended activity, your doctor can give you some alternatives that will be safe for you. 

While Following a New Routine

Once you begin a new exercise routine, you have to pay attention to your body. If you're not healthy enough to engage in the activity, your body will tell you. Stop activity and see your doctor right away if any of the following occur. 

  • Chest, jaw, neck or arm pain
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling of the ankles
  • Rapid, heavy heartbeat
  • Lower leg pain

These symptoms may appear while you're exercising or while you're at rest. They are all signs of a possible cardiac or vascular issue. If you develop any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor right away. However, if your symptoms appear when you're exercising and disappear with rest, they are especially worrisome, and you may need to be seen in the emergency room. 

Physical activity is a great way to get healthy and shed a few pounds, but you have to be smart about it. Contact your family doctor or resources like Dr. Vitkin's Weight Loss Clinic before beginning a new activity and follow up with them if you develop any symptoms.