by Kenneth Rudich (author’s note: This post is part of MSM’s commitment to the Promote a Social Good Campaign.)
While encouragement to get people to start exercising is generally given with the best of intent, those at the receiving end should first be prepared to exercise caution before they exercise anything else. There are a few things to consider in advance and it all begins with one basic question.
Are you ready for physical exercise? Well…maybe and maybe not.
According to the experts, you should evaluate your medical readiness prior to participating in physical activity. This means checking for possible risks in terms of medical complications.
Factors that should give you pause before launching into an exercise regimen on your own include:
- family disease history
- high blood pressure
- high blood sugar
- high blood fat levels
- low HDL
Some of the signs and symptoms to watch for when it comes to these risk factors are:
- chest, neck or jaw pain
- shortness of breath in mild exercise
- dizziness or fainting
- labored breathing
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- heart murmur
- fatigue in normal activity
Based on where you stand relative to these factors, you could be at high risk, moderate risk, or low risk for medical complications. Here are some guidelines for each risk category:
- high risk: one or more signs or symptoms; known cardiovascular, pulmonary, or metabolic disease
- moderate risk: men 45 and over, no known disease; women 55 and over, no known disease; two or more risk factors
- low risk: men less than 45 and women less than 55 with no signs or symptoms and no more than one risk factor
do your own self-screening for readiness
Now that you know what’s involved in terms of potential medical risk, you can do a self-screening to determine whether you’re ready or not. One widely used tool for self-screening is called the PAR-Q, which stands for Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire. It consists of 7 basic questions. Your answers to the questions, along with a few other factors, can help guide your decision-making. I’ll refer you to a site for the PAR-Q at the end of this post.
interpreting your readiness based on the PAR-Q
- If you are an apparently healthy young adult and answer “no” to all the questions, you basically get a green light for moderate or vigorous activity.
- If you are an apparently healthy older adult (over 40) and answer “no” to all the questions, you get a favorable nod for moderate activity. But for rigorous activity, it is recommended that you undergo what is known as a Clinical Exercise Test. The Exercise Test involves a series of routines that measure your body’s response to significantly increased physical activity, in an environment that makes it safe and informative for you.
- Those with a known disease are encouraged to get a medical exam and undergo a Clinical Exercise Test.
now are you ready for physical activity?
Let’s say everything is good to go up to this point. Does that mean you’ve completely answered the question about readiness?
Well…not exactly. There are a few other things that yet need to be considered, and I’ll cover those in the next installment for the Fitness and Wellness category under the Social Good Campaign.
Until then, keep doing what you can to promote the social good, whatever it entails.
P.S. Here’s a site for the PAR-Q.