Do you need a doctor’s okay before beginning to exercise? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Common wisdom says if you’ve never been much of an exercise person you should talk with your doctor before embarking on a program to get more active. Kerry Stewart, an exercise and cardiovascular health expert at Johns Hopkins, says for many people that’s not really necessary.

Stewart: If someone is sedentary but otherwise healthy and doesn't have any major home morbidities, doesn't have diabetes, doesn't have heart disease then they don't really need exercise testing at least the start of moderate level program. So the message to those individuals just get out and walk would be a great way to start. But if someone does have a history of health problems then they should get a checkup, which may or may not include an exercise stress test but at least get clearance.  :30

Stewart says that any troubling physical symptoms like profound shortness of breath or chest pain during activity should prompt a visit to a health professional, but most people won’t experience such issues, especially if they begin slowly and work up. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.