With spring officially here, many people are considering the idea of becoming more physically active. As the snow melts and the sun shines, we are coming out of hibernation and naturally seek to move more. However, before you become more physically active, it is prudent to talk to your health care provider about your ‘readiness to exercise’. You can do this by taking a fitness test, administered by a trained exercise professional to determine your current level of fitness. Also, take the time to answer the following questions (PAR-Q or physical activity readiness questionnaire) to determine if you are ready to begin an exercise routine or program.

• Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition or that you should participate in physical activity only as recommended by a doctor?
• Do you feel pain in your chest during physical activity?
• In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not doing physical activity?
• Do you lose your balance from dizziness? Do you ever lose consciousness?
• Do you have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity?
• Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs for your blood pressure or a heart condition?
• Do you know of any reason you should not participate in physical activity?

If you answered YES to one or more questions, if you are over 40 years of age and have recently been inactive, or if you are concerned about your health, consult a physician before taking a fitness test or substantially increasing your physical activity. If you answered NO to each question, then it is likely that you can safely begin exercising.

Regardless of your current level of fitness, it is important to progress gradually and with proper instruction so that you reduce the likelihood of injury from doing too much, too soon. The key to greater health and wellness is to be consistent with your physical activity routine and as well as your nutrition plan.

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