The PAR-Q and You


I know what you’re thinking. Right now you are sitting there wondering what the heck is a PAR-Q? I’ll tell you! PAR-Q stands for Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire. Basically, it is a  form that can be used as a self-screening tool and  can be used by anyone who is planning to start an exercise program. Some personal trainers, including yours truly, use this form as a baseline to determine the risks associated with any given individual beginning an exercise routine.

For most people, increasing their current level of activity or adding consistent exercise to their daily routine is not an issue that causes concern, medically speaking. There are some however, who have conditions or injuries that make exercise a risk that could very possibly outweigh the benefits achieved from doing said exercise. This small group of adults is exactly who the PAR-Q is aimed at.

Whether you’re working with a personal trainer or not, it is definitely a good idea to read through the PAR-Q and answer the questions on the form to get a good idea of whether or not adding exercise, or increasing your current exercise frequency or intensity is a good idea or not. Below I’ve listed the questions you will find on the PAR-Q form. Answer each with a yes or no answer.

  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:
If you answered yes to one or more questions, are older than age 40 and have been inactive or are concerned about your health, consult a physician before taking a fitness test or substantially increasing your physical activity. You should ask for a medical clearance along with information about specific exercise limitations you may have.

If you answered no:
If you answered no to all the PAR-Q questions, you can be reasonably sure that you can exercise safely and have low risk of having any medical complications from exercise. It is still important to start slowly and increase gradually.

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