Medi-Weightloss® understands that fitness is a key component in long-term weight loss and wellness. Whether you are new to exercise or reintroducing exercise into your life, it is important to follow some simple guidelines to ensure your efforts are effective. Through this advice, as well as the guidance of your Medi-Weightloss® team, you will be well on your way to a healthier you.
Are you Ready for Activity?
Anyone planning to increase physical activity levels or start a new exercise program should first complete a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire or PAR-Q. The PAR-Q is the gold standard in exercise safety, used by physicians, personal trainers, and fitness centers around the world. Typically five to seven questions, the PAR-Q is used to rule out underlying health concerns that could worsen with exercise. Answer yes or no to the questions below.
- Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and that you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor?
- Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity?
- In the past month, have you experienced chest pain when you were not doing physical activity?
- Do you lose your balance because of dizziness, or do you ever lose consciousness?
- Do you have a bone or joint problem (i.e., back, knee, or hip) that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity?
- Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs for your blood pressure or a heart condition?
- Do you know of any other reason why you should not do physical activity?
If you answered YES to any of the questions, you must see your primary care physician and be cleared for exercise. You may have no activity restrictions, or you may need to limit your activities to those deemed safe for you. Tell your doctor which activities you're considering and follow his/her advice.
If you answered NO to all the questions, you can be reasonably sure that you can become more physically active as long as you begin slowly and build up gradually. The majority of exercise injuries occur when people start a routine too aggressively, not allowing their bodies time to adapt.
When to Stop: Warning Signs Of Overexertion
Exercise will inflict stress on the body as you are challenging it to do more than it is accustomed. Especially in the beginning, you may find your muscles are sore a few days after an exercise session. Warning signs of overexertion typically occur during a workout and can be a key indication that something is wrong. They include:
- Pain or pressure in the left or middle part of your chest, or in the left side of your neck, left shoulder, or left arm
- Feeling dizzy or sick
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
- Muscle cramps
- Sharp pain in your joints, feet, ankles, or bones
- Heart problems, such as racing or irregular beats
If you experience these problems during exercise, immediately slow down but don't stop abruptly as this can cause problems with blood circulation and fainting. However, in cases of severe and sudden pain, stop immediately, seek help, and follow up with your primary care physician.