"Before starting this or any other exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor."
Insel adds that a previously sedentary person may experience elevations in blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems.
A beginning exerciser also needs to make sure he or she is in adequate physical condition to participate in the level of activity being pursued, says Dr. Joel Press of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Illinois.
The specific tests one should have depend on a person's baseline health and on the goals of the exercise program.
Age is another critical factor when it comes to starting physical activity.
According to Dr. Michael Zimring of Mercy Medical Center, people in their 20s are usually in a safe position to start exercising.But, he says, "it may not be a bad idea for the young to be evaluated based on family history or cholesterol readings."
People in their 30s and 40s should see their physician for a comprehensive evaluation that includes a review past medical problems and family medical history, comprehensive blood tests, and possibly an exercise stress test.