Posted by: Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes | August 25, 2008

Assessing the Risks of an Exercise Program: Part 1

      Ready to start an exercise program?  That’s great, but before you begin, I strongly suggest you get a health screening.  An effective screening will help you identify any medical conditions or factors that place you at risk during exercise.  The simplest and most effective way to do this is to work with your physician to review your risk factors for coronary artery disease (CAD), the number one killer in the U.S.  The seven positive risk factors (i.e., increases the risk for CAD) identified by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) with defining criteria are as follows:

1.  Cigarette Smoking – Current cigarette smoker or those who quit within the previous 6 months.

2.  Family History – Heart attack or sudden death before 55 in father or 1st degree male relative (e.g., brother) or before 65 in mother or 1st degree female relative (e.g., sister).

3.  High Blood Pressure – Systolic blood pressure ≥ 140 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure ≥ 90 mmHg.

4.  High Cholesterol – Total cholesterol > 200 mg/dL or HDL cholesterol < 40 or LDL cholesterol > 130 mg/dL.  NOTE: HDL cholesterol > 60 mg/dL is a negative risk factor (i.e., reduces the risk of CAD). 

5.  Impaired Fasting Glucose – Fasting blood glucose ≥ 110.

6.  Obesity – Body Mass Index ≥ 30.  Also, waist girth > 40 inches in men and > 35 inches in women.

7.  Sedentary Lifestyle – Persons NOT getting the recommended daily amount of exercise.

NEXT POST – August 28, 2008:

Assessing the Risks of an Exercise Program: Part 2



  1. Dr. Holmes, enjoyed the article. Very informative. As mentioned, and most important, before you exercise, always gets the approval from your doctor.

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