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Prescription for a Safe Workout

I have been working in the sports, fitness and wellness fields for more than 25 years, and I've developed performance enhancement strategies for thousands of people. You must first ascertain an individual's health, performance and risk management status before you develop a specific exercise regimen to suit their individual needs and capabilities.

Unfortunately, many individuals attempt to adopt an exercise routine who may not be ready for one as strenuous as they would like it to be. One thing to be keep in mind: When you exercise, you put your body through an elevated level of activity that it may not be used to. And like any rigorous activity, it can have adverse consequences if not done properly. People with heart conditions or respiratory problems, for example, should not engage in strenuous activity without being medically evaluated for proper exercise tolerance and safety.

This is precisely why my Performance Enhancement and Lifestyle Management Program at Elmwood Fitness Center requires medical clearance by a licensed physician for the people who come to us. Exercise isn't something you just pick up and do, especially if you've been inactive for a long time. You start with light, non-taxing warm-up exercises, then gradually work up to the more strenuous activities, if you are physically capable. People who are not capable of strenuous activity can still do other things that keep their body in shape, like aerobic walking, or light calisthenics and basic resistance exercises, with physician approval.

In addition to your own physical condition, it is also important for your doctor, physical therapist or other health care professional to know your family medical history. For instance, if you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, you might be susceptible to one or more of these conditions. Also, if you're on any type of prescription medicine, you need to know how it will affect your system before getting into an exercise routine. Again, here's where your doctor can best advise you.

If you've had any broken bones, chronic lower back pain or arthritis, your workout routine should take this into consideration as well.

In short, proper exercise is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health, but it is not something you should take lightly. Get yourself thoroughly examined and get a doctor's OK before getting into any type of workout routine.

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