The American College of Sports Medicine recommends a simple self-evaluation to help you decide. The more heart disease risk factors you have -- like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, a family history of heart disease, a smoking habit, obesity, or pre-diabetes -- the more important it is to check in with your doctor or another qualified health professional.
If you already have heart, lung or kidney disease, asthma or arthritis, it's essential to work hand-in-hand with your health-care provider to develop an exercise program for wellness.
Talk to your doctor first if you answer yes to any of these seven questions:
Do you have a heart condition?
Do you feel pain in your chest during exertion?
Do you have chest pain when not exerting yourself?
Do you ever lose your balance or feel dizzy?
Do you have any bone or joint issues?
Are you on prescription drugs for high blood pressure or a heart condition?
Do you have any other health issues that could be affected by exercise?
Even if you don't have these risk factors, when you're new to exercise, the safest way to start is slowly and at a low intensity. Learn proper technique to avoid injury and prevent muscle strain that could lead you to give up before you really get going.