Make sure you are in good health. Answer the following questions* before
you begin exercising.
1. Has a doctor ever said you have heart problems?
2. Do you frequently suffer from chest pains?
3. Do you often feel faint or have dizzy spells?
4. Has a doctor ever said you have high blood pressure?
5. Has a doctor ever told you that you have a bone or joint problem, such
as arthritis, that has been or could be aggravated by exercise?
6. Are you over the age of 65 and not accustomed to exercise?
7. Are you taking prescription medications, such as those for high blood
8. Is there a good medical reason, not mentioned here, why you should not
*Source: British Columbia Department of Health
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you should see your
doctor before you begin an exercise program.
- Follow a gradual approach to exercise to get the most benefits with the
fewest risks. If you have not been exercising, start at a slow pace and
as you become more fit, gradually increase the amount of time and the
pace of your activity.
- Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit your personality. For
example, if you like team sports or group activities, choose things such
as soccer or aerobics. If you prefer individual activities, choose
things such as swimming or walking. Also, plan your activities for a
time of day that suits your personality. If you are a morning person,
exercise before you begin the rest of your day’s activities. If you have
more energy in the evening, plan activities that can be done at the end
of the day. You will be more likely to stick to a physical activity
program if it is convenient and enjoyable.
- Exercise regularly. To gain the most health benefits it is important to
exercise as regularly as possible. Make sure you choose activities that
will fit into your schedule.
- Exercise at a comfortable pace. For example, while jogging or walking
briskly you should be able to hold a conversation. If you do not feel
normal again within 10 minutes following exercise, you are exercising
too hard. Also, if you have difficulty breathing or feel faint or weak
during or after exercise, you are exercising too hard.
- Maximize your safety and comfort. Wear shoes that fit and clothes that
move with you, and always exercise in a safe location. Many people walk
in indoor shopping malls for exercise. Malls are climate controlled and
offer protection from bad weather.
- Vary your activities. Choose a variety of activities so you don’t get
bored with any one thing.
- Encourage your family or friends to support you and join you in your
activity. If you have children, it is best to build healthy habits when
they are young. When parents are active, children are more likely to be
active and stay active for the rest of their lives.
- Challenge yourself. Set short-term as well as long-term goals and
celebrate every success, no matter how small.
Whether your goal is to control your weight or just to feel healthier,
becoming physically active is a step in the right direction. Take
advantage of the health benefits that regular exercise can offer and
make physical activity a part of your lifestyle.