What’s Up, Doc?

I’ve been writing this blog for almost a year, beginning with writing mostly about running, then adding in recipes that have evolved in my experimental kitchen over the years.  I started adding in my fitness rules, some that I have figured out on my own, others that I have learned in the process of obtaining my personal trainer certification.  Somehow I overlooked writing about the most important fitness rule of all:  Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise or fitness program.

If you hire a personal trainer, that trainer will ask you to see your doctor for a note clearing you to begin a fitness program.  You should expect to have a full blood work up and physical, tell your doctor you are about to begin working with a trainer, and then give the trainer the note from your doctor.  The note should include any health concerns and activity restrictions.  The trainer will keep that letter on file as a safeguard to protect him or herself should anything unexpected happen during the duration of your training relationship.

Without a trainer, it’s easy to forget to see your doctor and get clearance to begin exercising.  What could happen if you are just walking a couple of miles a day, or lifting free weights, doing an aerobics video, or some core work in the middle of your living room?

The answer is—- you don’t know.  Anyone can have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, a blocked artery, a subtle heart arrhythmia, or Type II diabetes and not know it, putting them at risk for a serious adverse reaction to a fitness program.  Although the side effects of exercise are almost always positive (weight loss, increase in strength, endurance, flexibility, improved mood, improved energy, to name a few), without being aware of the health risks that increase with certain medical conditions, exercise can have side effects you do not want, sometimes effects that place your overall health at risk.

Your doctor will let you know what is safe for you.  Your doctor will be happy you want to start to exercise because you are  actively seeking to work on your own health, and because patients who work on their fitness tend to be healthier overall, making the doctor’s  job easier in the long run.

So, although this is technically my 15th fitness rule, it is really Fitness Rule #1— Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.

The reason today seems like the perfect day to add this fitness rule is that the first of the big holidays is Thanksgiving, just a few days away.  Then Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s come tumbling right behind being thankful, and before you know it, you are making another New Year’s resolution about fitness.  If you take the time to squeeze in your check up before you make that resolution, you can begin right away on January 1st— and feel confident that your body is as ready as your dream of improving your health.

Explore posts in the same categories: Fitness Rules, Tips, Training

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