In workout videos and how-to articles for different exercises, there’s always the disclaimer that we should consult a doctor or fitness instructor before starting any exercise programmes or workout routines. Is this always necessary or can we sometimes skip this step?
Disclaimers are there to protect you and should not be ignored. Most people who choose to disregard these disclaimers do not suffer any consequences. However, some people will learn the hard way when they start exercising. They may not even realise they are putting their health at risk! Usually, disclaimers will be a series of questions similar to this:
- Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition?
- Do you have pains in your chest when performing physical activity?
- Have you had chest pain when you were not doing any physical activity?
- Do you lose your balance due to dizziness or ever lose consciousness?
- Is there a history of coronary disease in your immediate family?
- Do you suffer from high or low blood pressure?
- Do you suffer from high cholesterol?
- Are you pregnant now or have you given birth within the last 6 months?
- Have you had surgery recently?
- Do you have any chronic illness or physical limitations such as asthma or diabetes?
- Do you have any injuries, bone/joint or orthopaedic problems?
- Do you take any medications (either prescription or non-prescription) regularly?
If you have answered YES to ANY of these questions, then you should consult a doctor before exercising. If the answer is NO to ALL of these questions, then you can start exercise without the need to see a doctor or fitness instructor. Even if you have answered “no” to all of the above questions, you should still proceed with caution when starting any new exercise programme. Exercising incorrectly could lead to serious injuries. Start simple and with minimal equipment. Bodyweight exercises like squats, lunges, press-ups and sit-ups are great for toning, simple to do, and safe for all levels.
Group exercise classes are a great way to get fit safely as you will have professional coaches on hand to guide you, correct your form and motivate you.
Greg Evans, Director of coaching, Evolution Sports Qatar
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