You may have been told to reduce or stop exercise with your current or recent condition. Under most circumstances, reducing exercise is acceptable, but if you have been told to stop exercise altogether, there are likely still some movements you can do, with restrictions. Movement is good for the body, and the mind. Here are some reasons why your doctor may recommend that you slow or stop exercise, and what you can do about it.
In fact, the NLM summarizes over 26 common chronic conditions for which exercise is known to be helpful. While we must be careful about the amount and type of exercise that we do, to maintain our health, we should not stop moving entirely (but it’s always ok to take a rest-day). The best alternative is to substitute our regular exercise for less strenuous or different types movements, instead of stopping altogether. Here are a few situations where we may need to reduce or change exercise.
If you have any of the following conditions, you’ll likely be told to reduce or temporarily stop exercise for the benefit of your heart, lungs, or oxygen levels for the brain.
If you have had any of the above situations arise, you should be cautious about exercising, and discuss with your doctor about your symptoms and concerns before returning to exercise.
You may also have been told to keep your blood pressure under a certain level when you exercise. In these cases, while intense exercise is not recommended, you may still be able to do light activities providing you rest frequently, and check your blood pressure often. Talk to your doctor about what you CAN do so that you maintain as much mobility as possible.
If you’ve been told to reduce activity for a time, such as post-surgery, you may have some physical barriers to adding exercise to your routine. Here are some examples of situations where you’d want to restrict movement.
Most likely, there are still some movements that you can do - you’ll need to discuss these with your doctor and physical therapist. If you firmly believe you can do some movement or activity, but you've been advised against doing that activity, get a second opinion first. Do not go against medical advice.
Besides always double checking with your doctor if you have recent heart conditions, surgeries, or severe shortness of breath, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you see your doctor before starting a moderate or vigorous exercise routine if:
When in doubt, check it out: If you're unsure of your health status, or are new to exercising, speak with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Working with your doctor ahead of time can help you plan the exercise program that's right for you, and get you started on an exercise schedule that is tolerable, reasonable, and long-lasting.