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Are you ready to Exercise?


Article by Dr. Michael Raeburn, March 8th, 2011

If you’re like me you know you need to get out and exercise more, but are you ready?  It’s not always as simple as lacing up the shoes and hopping on a tread mill.  For many of us exercise and physical activity is something dusty we left on the shelf years ago.  What we remember of strenuous exercise is just that, a memory.  The reality is that for many of us, if we try to recapture that bittersweet feeling of exertion, sweat and accomplishment we could be risking our long term health or worse. 

The rigors of exercise place increased demands on our entire body including cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and biomechanical systems.  Because of the risks associated with these increased demands the British Columbia Ministry of Health and the Multidisciplinary Board on Exercise created a self screening tool called the PAR-Q.  PAR-Q stands for “Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire” and is for individuals between the ages of 15 and 69 who want to start exercising.  The use of the PAR-Q is also endorsed by The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians.   There are seven questions total and if you answer yes to any one question you may be placing yourself at risk by increasing your current levels of physical activity. 


  1. Has your doctor ever said that you have a heart condition and that you should
    only do physical activity recommended by 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 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 of these questions please consult with your physician or sports care professional prior to engaging in increased activity levels.  If you answered no to all of the questions above then you can be relatively confident that increasing your activity levels in a responsible way is safe.  To see an example of the PAR-Q form in its entirety along with some great exercise guidelines please visit the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology web site at, http://www.csep.ca/cmfiles/publications/parq/par-q.pdf.

As a Chiropractor and sports physician I frequently recommend various stretches and exercises to my patients.  In my practice I’ve found that exercise and participation is often the best medicine.  In the future I hope to write more about activities that may be beneficial to various aspects of the musculoskeletal system and I highly recommend that each individual take the time to complete a PAR-Q prior to attempting any new stretching or exercise program.


Article by: Dr. Michael Raeburn
Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician
Ph: 503-719-7742 

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