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Being Active When You Have More Than One Health Problem - Topic Overview

How do you stay safe? continued...

2. Get expert advice. Talk to your doctor about all of your symptoms, medicines, and barriers to being active. Talk about your strengths and what you enjoy doing. If you've been feeling depressed, be sure to talk about that too. Depression can make even the simplest things seem hard.

Use this planning form(What is a PDF document?) to gather your thoughts. What do you most like to do? What kinds of things get in your way? What questions do you have for your doctor?

Go over your planning form with your doctor. Write down what you can do for exercise and what you need to be careful about. Set a long-term goal you can reach, and write the small steps you will take toward it. Working on these small steps will make it more likely that you will achieve your long-term goal. When you reach your goal, find a way to celebrate it. Then set another goal.

Your doctor may work with you on an exercise prescription. This clearly sets out what is safe for you, such as your target heart rate range and any need for medical supervision while you exercise. If you need medical staff with you when you exercise, your doctor will suggest that you sign up for an exercise rehab program.

3. Know when to stop and when to call your doctor. When you exercise, it's normal to have some minor muscle and joint soreness. But other signs may point to something more serious. Stop exercising if:

  • You have pain in your chest or upper belly that may spread to your neck, jaw, upper back, shoulder, and arms. Call 911 right away if this happens. Chest pain can be a signal of a heart attack.
  • You are panting or are very short of breath.
  • You feel sick to your stomach.
  • You have pain, joint discomfort, or muscle cramps that won't go away.

Your doctor may add other symptoms to look out for, based on your health.

Call your doctor if your symptoms don't go away quickly or if they come back again.

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