December 2020

Start a Fitness Journey—With Your Doctor’s Help

A famous saying notes that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you have a chronic health condition or disability, deciding that you’re ready to start exercising may be the first step. The next one should be talking with your healthcare provider.

If you have an appointment coming up, discuss your workout plan with your healthcare provider then. If not, schedule an appointment to talk about how to safely add exercise into your daily life.

Let your provider know how you’ve been feeling, whether you’re having any pain or limitations, and what kinds of activity you currently do. You may also want to ask about:

  • What kind of exercise is the best fit for you. If you have arthritis, for example, your healthcare provider may encourage you to choose joint-friendly activities like walking or cycling. If you use a wheelchair or have other mobility limitations, ask what types of exercise would work for you.

  • How much exercise or activity to aim for. All adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity (think: brisk walking) along with two sessions of muscle-strengthening exercises each week. If you haven’t been active for a while, start with shorter bouts of exercise and gradually build up to what your provider recommends.

  • How exercise may affect the types of and amount of medicines you’re taking. If you use insulin, for example, ask whether you need to change your medicine dosage and/or timing around your exercise plan.

  • Signs that you should adapt your routine or avoid exercise altogether. If you have diabetes and your blood sugar is too high, your healthcare provider may caution you against working out. Or if you’ve been sick with a cold or the flu, you may need to take a few days off and ease back gradually. Make sure you know when it’s safe for you to work out.

Get your provider’s help starting and maintaining a regular exercise program, and you’ll be on your way to a fitter body—as well as better health.



Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 10/1/2020
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