Bret Wilson

Are You Ready to Get Healthy


Starting or Resuming an Exercise Program Safely

A common and worthwhile resolution is to become more active and get more exercise.  But how can someone begin or resume an exercise program that will help them get healthy and not injure themselves? Should you consult a physician?  Are there health risks to be concerned about or are you exercise ready?


There is a self administered evaluation consisting of seven yes or no questions that can help you start safe.  The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology ( has developed the Physical  Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q).  The full form is available at the following link .  The following 7 questions should be answered with an honest yes or no.

  1.  Has the doctor ever told you that you have a heart condition and that physical activity should only be undertaken at the recommendation of a doctor?
  2.  Do you feel pain in your chest when you do physical activity?
  3. In the past month, have you had chest pain when you were not doing physical activity?
  4. Do you lose your balance because of dizziness or do you ever lose consciousness?
  5. Do you have a bone or joint problem (for example, back, knee or hip) that could be made worse by a change in your physical activity?
  6. Is your doctor currently prescribing drugs (for example, water pills) for your blood pressure or heart condition?
  7. Do you know of any other reason why you should not do physical activity?


If you answered yes to any one question, a discussion about the question should be conducted with a doctor.  Two or more yes answers may require additional testing or consultations to rule out cardiovascular disease that may be exacerbated by the wrong or overly strenuous exercise. Exercise can and should be an important part of regaining health, but it is important to work with your health care professionals to create a safe and effective program to address your specific health issues.

Answering no to every question indicates that you may be safe to begin exercise activity slowly and increase gradually. A consultation with your chiropractor or physician may still be of benefit to get started on the right foot.


I provide patients with three guides to begin an exercise program.  The general principle is to “under do consistently”.

  1. Schedule regular times to commit to physical activity.   Initial exercise should be 20-30 minutes of activity 3-4 times per week.
  2. Start with light to moderate activities such as walking, floor exercises, light resistance exercise.
  3. No pain, more gain.  Exercise or movements that hurt are not recommended or helpful.  Select a range of motion, resistance and duration that is not painful or overtly exertive.

A program based on these guidelines helps you to develop the habit of exercise and build up to greater activity gradually and safely.  Be conscious of how your body is responding and modify activity as appropriate.  Be especially cautious if the activity changes your previous answers to the PAR-Q from no to yes.  If this occurs consult your physician.


Are you ready to get healthy?    I encourage you to resolve to be healthier this year.  Regular exercise is an important part of regaining or maintaining your health.  Get a healthy start by reviewing your current health and then make a plan to be safe and successful in reaching your health goals. Consult a qualified chiropractor, physician or therapist to help you get started.

Bret A. Wilson, DC