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How Should You Exercise? Three Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Anyone who's ever read an article about exercise knows that checking with your doctor is always essential before you start an exercise program.  But what exactly should you say to your doctor when you're asking about beginning or resuming physical activity? Here, from the National Institute on Aging, are three very important questions to ask. Make sure they're part of your conversation with your doctor; don't settle for a quick "yes," "no" or "as long as you take it easy."

Are there any exercises or activities I should avoid?

In answering this question, your physician should take into account your health history,including any recent surgeries or chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease. You also need to bring your doctor up to speed on any symptoms that have occurred since your last visit: chest pain, shortness of breath, joint pain or dizziness. Or if your physician  "misses" some symptoms, remind him or her of them. Your doctor may recommend postponing exercise or beginning a program at a very easy level.

Is my preventive care up to date?

Your doctor can tell you if there are any tests you might need. For example, the experts at NIA say, women over age 65 should be checked regularly for osteoporosis.      How does my health condition affect my ability to exercise?       Some health conditions can affect your exercise routine. People with arthritis may need to avoid some types of activity, especially when joints are swollen or inflamed. Diabetes patients have to adjust their daily schedule, meal plan, or medications when planning their activities. Your doctor can talk to you about any adjustments you need to make to ensure that you get the most out of your new exercise routine.

How does my health condition affect my ability to exercise?

Some health conditions can affect your exercise routine. People with arthritis may need to avoid some types of activity, especially when joints are swollen or inflamed. Diabetes patients have to adjust their daily schedule, meal plan, or medications when planning their activities. Your doctor can talk to you about any adjustments you need to make to ensure that you get the most out of your new exercise routine.

For more information about exercise and nutrition, visit Go4life.gov, a program from the National Institutes of Health. Click here for the website.    

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