Do you talk to your doctor about exercise? You should. Whether you exercise on a regular basis or not, your primary care provider should be part of the conversation when it comes to the type of activity you do and the amount of exercise you should complete each week. This short and simple conversation may help you to lose weight and improve your health.
How to Talk to Your Doctor About Exercise
When you meet with your health care provider, talk to him or her about the ways in which a regular exercise program will affect your health and take a few minutes to set a reasonable goal. You should walk away with these answers to these three questions:
- How will exercise affect my health? A program of physical activity, regardless of your weight, provides health benefits. Your doctor can explain how a reasonable exercise program may lower your risk for certain diseases, like type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome, or how it may be able to help you get off medications for conditions like high blood pressure.
- What guidelines should I follow? If you are new to exercise or if you are not sure what kind of exercise to do, your doctor can help. He or she can offer general advice for the type of exercise you should do and provide guidelines to make sure that you stay healthy while you workout. In some cases, your provider may be able to give you a referral to work with an exercise specialist at the Institute for Athletic Medicine.
- What is a reasonable goal? When you talk to your doctor about exercise, set a goal for the amount of exercise you’ll do each week. Your doctor can make that goal part of your chart and follow up with you on future visits. By setting up this system of accountability, you’re more likely to stick to your commitment.
What if My Doctor Doesn’t Bring Up Exercise?
If the subject of exercise doesn’t come up during your next visit with your health care provider, Mark Bixby, M.D., suggests that the patient should start the conversation. Dr. Bixby, Medical Director of Clinic Services at North Memorial Medical Center, says that patients should be encouraged to talk about exercise during meetings with their providers.
The North Memorial Healthy Weight Loss Program provides plenty of help for patients who want to start that conversation. Click on the links below to get more information.
- How to Start an Exercise Program. Download forms in English or Spanish to take to your doctor.
- How to Talk to your Doctor About Weight Loss. Start a conversation about weight loss by asking these questions.
- How to Exercise (videos) These short how-to videos are perfect for beginners who don’t know how to start their own physical activity program.