Many of us may have a goal to start getting physically active or to become more active, but sometimes we are unsure of when or how to find a safe place to start. Not wanting to discount a previous history of injuries with exercises could also make us nervous to start again. If you’re thinking of starting an exercise program, here are three questions you can ask yourself to determine if you’re ready to go.
What is your current level of physical activity?
Use the “Rule of 3” to answer a yes or no question. Do you currently exercise for three or more days a week, for 30 minutes or more each time, and for longer than three months?
If the answer is yes — congratulations! You’re currently physically active, and you have a little more room to engage in a higher volume of exercise.
If the answer is no — then you don’t participate in regular exercise or do so to a lesser amount than outlined. There might be a few more precautions to take. Consult your doctor before you lace up your sneakers.
Do you have cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, or renal disease? Do you have any signs or symptoms suggestive of heart disease?
If you do have any disease mentioned above, you’ll want to make sure it’s well managed and under control before engaging in a new routine. Also, be sure to note when there is a change to side effects and symptoms.
If you’re experiencing chest pain, racing heart rate, ankle swelling or shortness of breath with usual activities, they are the warning signs to get things checked out before a major cardiovascular event happens. These symptoms could be made worse by exercise.
What’s your desired exercise intensity?
This is an important question to ask because we don’t want to do too much too soon. This could lead to soreness, an injury, or a cardiac event. It’s important to start low and go slow in length, intensity and progression of exercises. This question also relates to the previous two. If active, with no disease or signs of cardiovascular disease, then the individual may be able to start a more moderate intensity of exercise. If not currently active, or dealing with disease states or signs/symptoms, it would be best to confirm with a doctor first or start at a low intensity.
Exercise can be a great way to deal with stress and positively influence health. But it’s always good to make sure you’re ready to exercise and minimize the risk of injury. So if you’re unsure, ask yourself the above questions, or always follow up with medical professionals to maximize safety.
To learn more visit hes.chhs.colostate.edu/outreach/adultfitness.