Regular physical activity is fun and healthy, and increasingly more people are starting to become more active every day. Being more active is very safe for most people. However, some people should check with their doctor before they start becoming much more physically active.
If you are planning to become much more physically active than you are now, start by answering the seven questions in the box below. If you are between the ages of 15 and 69, the PAR-Q will tell you if you should check with your doctor before you start. If you are over 69 years of age, and you are not used to being very active, check with your doctor.
Common sense is your best guide when you answer these questions. Please read the questions carefully and answer each one honestly:
Talk to your doctor by phone or in person BEFORE you start becoming much more physically active or BEFORE you have a fitness appraisal. Tell your doctor about the PAR-Q and which questions you answered YES.
Regular physical activity is vital for good health. While there is a risk of injury with any type of physical activity, the benefits of staying active far outweigh the risks. You can obtain information and advice about exercise safety from your doctor, a sports medicine doctor, physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist or see a sporting association about sporting technique and equipment.
You can reduce your risk of exercise injury by following these recommendations:
Injuries are more likely if you ignore your body’s signals of fatigue, discomfort and pain. Suggestions include:
If you experience any of the following symptoms, stop exercising and seek medical help:
Many physical activities have the potential for creating cumulative damage to muscles and joints. By nature, physical activity presents a stress to the body in the form of physical resistance and/or impact. Repeated stress can result in microscopic tears within the muscles as well as inflammation of tendons and joint surfaces. This damage usually announces itself by way of joint swelling and/or pain in the knees, feet, shoulders, or other joints. If the damage is mild the body is able to make repairs, given there is time allowed for healing. More severe damage and inflammation occurs when time between stresses is not adequate to allow healing. Chronic pain, inflammation, and scarification is the result.
Most sports and exercises rely on some type of equipment, such as shoes, bicycles or racquets. Protective equipment – such as mouth guards, shin pads and helmets – can significantly reduce the risk of injury by absorbing the impact of falls or collisions. Safety suggestions include: