Should I get a physical before starting a fitness program?

If you are just starting a fitness program of the first time or after a long time away, getting a routine physical from a competent health care professional can help you determine what type of exercise you qualify for. They will be able to provide information on where you should start. Finding an appropriate and realistic starting point is the first step to permanently integrating fitness into your lifestyle.

Of course but you want to make sure when you are ready to get physical you seek a qualified professional to make sure you are doing something correctly.  Wether you are going to a gym or doing something at home always find that knowledgable certified personal trainer to help guide you so you don't hurt yourself.  The best analogy I tell my clients is your parents didn't give you the keys to the car before you took driving lessons.  Fitness is the same way.  Get the proper instruction of the dos and don'ts of exercise and you will see great results.
I recommend everyone to get a routine physical before beginning an exercise program. Working out increases stress to the bones and tissues of the body, although a qualified personal trainer should be starting you at an appropriate level based off of your individual needs, it never hurts to get checked off by your Doctor first.

One of the best ways to make sure a fitness program will be safe and effective for an individual is to get a physical before starting a fitness program to make sure the body is functioning properly to handle the stress, and demands of exercise.

Absolutely, if you are new to exercise, just getting started on a fitness program for the first time, or have been away from the fitness world for an extended period of time, getting a physical exam from a physician and/or licensed health care professional can help you narrow down what type of exercise you qualify for and what activity would be appropriate for your fitness goals. They will be able to provide medical information, physiologic testing, and provide advice on what not to do if necessary. This will give you and your fitness coach a great starting place. Setting appropriate and fitness goals and developing an effective plan are the first steps to permanently integrating fitness into your lifestyle and allowing for consistent obstacle-limited results.

Yes, I always encourage people to visit their doctor before starting a fitness program. First, you want to make sure that your body is ready for exercise. For example, a safe and effective fitness program will contain resisitance training that will require joint motions and cardiorespiratory that will will challenge your heart and lungs. A checkup from your physician will help anticipate any issues you may face during your workouts or changes to your nutrition.

I also mentioned, effective as a part of you fitness program. A visit to your doctor will also yield some good advice on how to make sure you see results in your health and fitness goals. If there are limitations or health issues that could hamper your results, your doctor will be able to advise on alternatives to ensure success.

It is always a good idea to get a physical from your physician before you start any fitness program.  Different conditions are effected differently by exercise, and this can include medications.  If you are a healthy individual, but are changing your activity level, you don't want to set yourself up for injury.  It is always good to double check and make sure you have the all clear (or what to avoid) before you start. Coming across a set back early on can be difficult to come back from and this is a great way to avoid that.

Getting a physical is not only an excellent start to any fitness program, but also very important for your general health.  Prior to your appointment, take the time to write down any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health and fitness training to discuss with your health care provider Often we forget or don’t think of questions during the examination, and afterward we wish we could ask them.  

Your health care provider may also order you a blood test for possible underlying health issues you may not be aware of and that can be addressed. Also you will have a blood test profile to compare to in future blood tests, demonstrating the benefits of your fitness training. 

Absolutely. It's best to always have a medical physician conduct a physical prior to participating in a fitness program. The purpose of this exam is to identify any conditions, dysfunctions, or diseases that may require special attention or treatment. This subjective information will also provide awareness to the fitness professional so any alterations (if necessary) can be modified for a safe and effective fitness program. 
Absolutely! Find out where you stand and what your body will allow before jumping in to a program. This will help define the parameters and short term goals.

Certainly, you should know that you are healthy enough for an increase in activity. Physical activity will put stress on your heart as well as your skeletal muscles and bones.

If you have a medical condition that needs medical attention, added stress can be potentially harmful. 
Before starting any new physically stressful activity it is advisable to check with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough to begin that activity. Once you have been cleared by your doctor, it is a good idea to have a trainer show you how to safely execute exercises. 

Dr. Mike Clark, DPT
Absolutely! The best preparation for exercise is making sure you can safely engage in increased physical activity. Your mental preparedness is definitely important, however, you need to make sure that your body is ready for the challenge as well. Your physical can give you valuable information to share with your fitness professional to help them create the best individualized program that focuses on your needs. The pre-program physical can also identify any potential obstacles or health risks you may encounter with moderate to vigorous activity. Talk with your doctor about beginning your exercise regimen and discuss any potential concerns, risks or accommodations necessary before starting your program. 
Doctor Examining Patient Lungs with Stethoscope

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.