Beginning an Exercise Program

If you have reached this post, clearly you are interested in beginning an exercise program and are aware the many potential mental and physical benefits of exercise. Although many can begin an exercise program without seeing a doctor, there are a few instances in which you want to be sure it is safe for you. If you answer “YES” to any of the questions on the Exercise Readiness Questionnaire (ERQ), then you need to see your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Glad you are ready to start, but be safe!

  1. Has a physician ever diagnosed you with a heart condition and indicated you should restrict your physical activity?
  2. When you perform physical activity, do you feel pain in your chest?
  3. When you were not engaging in physical activity, have you experienced chest pain in the past month?
  4. Do you ever faint or get dizzy and lose your balance?
  5. Do you have an injury or orthopedic condition (such as a back, hip, or knee problem) that may worsen due to a change in your physical activity?
  6. Do you have high blood pressure or a heart condition in which a physician is currently prescribing a medication?
  7. Are you pregnant?
  8. Do you have insulin dependent diabetes?
  9. Are you 69 years of age or older and not used to being very active?
  10. Do you know of any other reason you should not exercise or increase your physical activity?

If any of your answers to these questions are “YES”, you need to see your doctor before beginning an exercise program. If you did not answer “YES’, then you should be safe to begin a program, but be sure you start slow and do not push yourself past your limits or you will risk injury from overtraining. If you choose a workout on this site, do not feel pressured to push yourself through an entire challenging workout if you can’t. Do what you can, and try to do a bit more next time. Never perform resistance training exercises on the same muscles on consecutive days. If you are ever concerned about your health while exercising, do not hesitate to seek advice from your physician.

Resource Exercise Readiness Questionnaire