It is always important to consult your physician before starting an exercise program. This is particularly true if any of the following apply to your current medical condition:
- chest pain or pain in the neck and/or arm
- shortness of breath
- a diagnosed heart condition (e.g., a previous heart attack, angioplasty, or coronary artery bypass surgery)
- joint and/or bone problems
- currently taking cardiac and/or blood pressure medications
- have not previously been physically active
- heart palpitations and/or rhythm irregularities
If none of these apply to you, start gradually and sensibly (e.g., a walking program). However, if you feel any of the physical symptoms listed above when you start your exercise program, contact your physician right away.
If one or more of the statements listed above applies for you, see your physician before beginning an exercise program. An exercise-stress test may be used to help plan your exercise program.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, medical clearance and follow-up, including exercise stress testing, are essential screening components for older adults (men over 45, women over 55), those at increased risk for cardiovascular events, and those with known cardiac, pulmonary, or metabolic disease (e.g., diabetes), especially when vigorous exercise (e.g., jogging, running, racquet sports) is considered.