If you are over the age of 35, have chronic health problems, or have not exercised regularly, make an appointment to see your doctor before you start an exercise program.
Your doctor will help you develop an exercise program to meet your goals. This program will put you on the path to better health. As part of your exercise program, your doctor may prepare written guidelines not only on how to get started, but also how to continue your progress. Be sure to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have.
Your doctor may refer you to a rehabilitation program. A rehabilitation program is designed to restore your health and quality of life through education, exercise and proper nutrition. You may work with a variety of healthcare providers in such a program, including Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Recreational Therapists, Nurses and Registered Dietitians.
Once in a rehabilitation program you will complete an evaluation to make sure you are ready to begin exercising with the least risk of injury. Members of the rehabilitation team will design the right exercise program for you. The program should address
- flexibility (stretching);
- muscle strength;
- muscle endurance; and
- cardiopulmonary endurance for sustained activity (heart and lung).
This information has been approved by Kimberly Sack, MS, PT (May 2012).