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How to Safely Begin an Exercise Program

First, ask yourself these questions

Being physically active is vital to your health and can help protect you from conditions including high blood pressure, heart disease and osteoporosis. Exercise can help you sleep, and research shows that being active may even lead to a longer life. It’s never too late to start a fitness program, but first ask yourself the following questions to be sure you're getting off on the right foot.

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A kayaker stretches before entering his boat

It's never too late to begin a fitness program. — David Trood/Getty Images

Moderate Activity

Moderate physical activity — brisk walking, swimming, cycling, dancing and gardening — that works your large muscle groups is safe for most people. But if you answer "yes" to one or more of the following questions, you may have a condition that could be made worse by exercise and should consult with your doctor before embarking on a fitness program.

Question Yes No
Have you been told by a doctor that you have a heart condition?    
Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity?    
Have you had chest pain at any time in the past month?    
Have you lost your balance because of dizziness or lost consciousness?    
Do you have bone or joint problems that are made worse by physical activity?    
Do you take prescription drugs for your blood pressure or heart condition?    
Do you have other medical reasons not to be physically active?    

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