Should I talk to my doctor before starting an exercise program?

Whether or not you should talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program is not a yes or no answer. It really depends on multiple factors. If you’re new to exercise it’s a good idea to fill out a par Q and You form. This is a seven question test that will provide you with good insight into whether or not it’s ok to start. If you’re 70 and above it’s recommended to talk with your doctor, however if you’re between 15 and 69 you can use the Par Q & You.

The Par Q looks at things like potential heart complications, joint issues, and the likelihood of passing out. If you check yes boxes on the Par Q & You it is recommended to talk to the doctor and tell them what boxes you checked yes.

By not gaining clearance or filling out this form there is an increased risk of cardiovascular complications. While the chances of a heart attack is low there still is that risk. Besides heart complications, joint or muscle issues can be a problem. Starting an exercise program with an injury or underlying musculoskeletal problem can be an issue. Referral to a physical therapist in this case can be helpful. Physical therapists can help you know what exercises to incorporate and those to avoid.

In summary:

  • Fill out a Par Q & You to determine if it’s safe to start an exercise program.
  • If you’re over 70 talk with a doctor regardless when wanting to start an exercise program.
  • Talk to a physical therapist if you have an existing bone, joint, and/or muscular issue.