I want to become more physically active; do I need to see my doctor first?
Being physically active can provide some protection against chronic diseases such as heart disease, adult-onset diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, certain cancers and osteoporosis. It also contributes to increased bone strength, decreased blood pressure, better sleep, increased "good" cholesterol, increased metabolism and better resistance to colds. To put it simply, physical activity is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
For most people moderate physical activity is not a
health hazard. However talk to your doctor before
beginning if you have existing heart trouble, chest
pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, you often feel
dizzy or faint, or you have arthritis or some other bone
or joint problem that might be aggravated by improper
exercise. If you are not sure if you have any of these
conditions or you have any concerns about the safety of
starting an exercise program, give your health care
provider a call.
Gail Carlson, MPH Ph.D., Continuing Medical Education, School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia
Last update: Tuesday, November 25, 2008