Future fit – Assessing your current health and fitness

Before you can start exercising, you need to assess where you’re at.

You have started to think about getting fit. Before you can start exercising, however, you need to assess where you’re at. Take the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) to find out your current state of fitness and health, and find out whether you need to see a health-professional before you start working up a sweat.
The PAR-Q questionnaire
PAR-Q was developed by health professionals in Canada. It will clarify whether you need to see your doctor before starting an exercise program. Answer as honestly as possible, and make your response a Yes or No.

Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and that you should only do physical activity recommended by a doctor? Yes/No

Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity? Yes/No

In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not doing physical activity? Yes/No

Do you lose your balance because of dizziness or do you ever lose consciousness?

Do you have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity? Yes/No

Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs (e.g. water pills) for your blood pressure or heart condition? Yes/No

Do you know of any other reason why you should not do physical activity? Yes/No

If you answered YES to one or more questions
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 discuss any issues it may have brought up.

You may be able to do any activity you want - as long as you start slowly and build up gradually. Or you may need to restrict your activities to those that are safe for you. Talk to your doctor about the kinds of physical activities you wish to undertake and follow their advice.

If you answered NO to all questions
You can be reasonably assured it is safe to become more active. Begin slowly and build up gradually. This is the safest and easiest way to go. You can also get a fitness appraisal to determine your basic fitness and to make a plan that helps you to monitor your progress.

If your health changes so that you would then answer yes to any of the PAR-Q questions, tell your fitness or health professional. Ask whether you should change your physical activity plan.

Click NEXT to find out what to discuss with your doctor and how to assess your current fitness

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