Why should I see a doctor when starting exercise regime?

Dear doctor; I recently bought videos of exercise regime for holistic therapy. I want to do doing yoga and Pilates but a warning at the start of the video says one must first talk to their doctor before taking such an exercise. I thought exercise was a good thing, so why would I need to tell a doctor that I am doing a simple thing like Pilates or yoga? What specifics would the doctor then look into?

Dear doctor;

I recently bought videos of exercise regime for holistic therapy. I want to do doing yoga and Pilates but a warning at the start of the video says one must first talk to their doctor before taking such an exercise. I thought exercise was a good thing, so why would I need to tell a doctor that I am doing a simple thing like Pilates or yoga? What specifics would the doctor then look into?

Harelimana, Kinamba.

Dear Harelimana,

It is a good idea that you wish to start doing yoga and Pilates. Both are holistic forms of exercise, improving physical and mental stamina.

Pilates is a form of exercise designed in 1920 by Joseph Pilates, a physical instructor. It was initially designed to help injured athletes and dancers  regain their physical form and efficiency. It involves exercising the core muscles of the body, that is, of trunk and all major group of muscles of the body. The muscles are moved systematically in various ways  such that their tone and flexibility improves. It also improves mental focus and stamina. Thus it energises and rejuvenates the body totally.

Yoga is a form of holistic exercise from ancient India, initiated by sage Patanjali and is about 5,000 years old. It includes physical movements, breathing exercises  and meditation, all which combine to improve holistic health, that is, physical, mental and spiritual. It also energises the mind and body, increases mental concentration, improves control over mind and keeps one cheerful and contented  and energetic.

Thus both have several advantages for an individual. But like any other form of exercise, one should be physically fit before starting. The exercises should be started in a small number and then increased gradually. The movements should be slow, without any jerk and done upto one’s tolerance. At any moment, if any discomfort or pain is experienced, the exercise should be stopped.   Besides certain exercises are prohibited for some conditions. For example, an injured limb should never be exercised till the injury is settled, neck rotation can augment blood pressure and cause vertigo in those prone to it. Pregnancy, recent abdominal surgery or trauma  are situations where exercise of abdominal muscles can be detrimental. Hence, it is good to check with a doctor and then start most suitable exercises as per your physical condition and stamina

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