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    Before You Start an Exercise Program


    Before You Start


    Consult your physician or health professional prior to starting an exercise program.  According to American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), apparently healthy men and women do not require a medical evaluation by a physician before embarking on a program of moderate exercise intensity. Exercise is safe for most individuals.  However, it is prudent to take precautions to optimize your exercise benefits. If you or your family has a history of medical problems, or if you experience shortness of breath or chest pains while exercising, it is recommended that you consult a physician and/or have a health appraisal done.


    The Department of Recreation Services can help assess your risk and current physical fitness level. So if you need help in starting an exercise program or just determining what intensity is right for you contact Dr. Takeshi Fujii at 651-2367 or tfujii@semo.edu and let our certified personal trainers get you started in the right direction.


    One of the first steps in starting an exercise program is determining how active or at what exercise intensity is appropriate. Exercise intensities are commonly described as follows:



    This is an intensity that can be sustained relatively comfortably for a long period of time (about 60 minutes). This type of exercise typically begins slowly, progresses gradually and usually is not competitive in nature.



    This is an intensity that is high enough to significantly raise both your heart and breathing rates, and is usually performed for about 20 minutes before fatigue sets in.


    Are you planning to participate in vigorous activities and are a man over 40 or woman over 50? Then the Department of Recreation Services recommends that you receive a medical examination first. The same can be said for individuals of any age who have coronary artery disease risk factors. If you are unsure if a risk factor applies to you, check with your physician.



    An easy method for measuring exercise intensity is the Talk Test. The Talk Test is a subjective test that allows the exerciser to determine the intensity of their exercise. Moderate exercise is at a level where the exerciser can carry on a comfortable conversation and should be able to breathe comfortably during exercise. In simple terms, the exerciser would be working out too hard if they have to take a breath between every word they say. On the flip side, they would be exercising at too easy of an intensity if they could sing several phrases of a song without breathing hard.




             Age (men>45, women>55)

             Family history of heart attack or sudden death

             Current cigarette smoker

             High blood pressure

             High cholesterol


             Physical inactivity