Absolute Contraindications of Exercise

  • Uncontrolled or poorly controlled asthma.6

  • Cancer or blood disorders: when treatment or disease cause leucocytes below 0.5 x 109/L, haemoglobin below 8.0g/dl or platelets below 50 x 10 9, ref 19

  • COPD: patients are required to be stable before training and oxygen saturation levels should be above 88-90%17

  • Diabetes: if blood glucose is >13 mmol or <5.5 mmol/l then it should be corrected first18 Patients with diabetic peripheral or autonomic neuropathy or foot ulcers should avoid weight bearing exercise. Any diabetic with acute illness or infection16

  • Heart disease: acute myocardial infarction or unstable angina until stable for at least 5 days, dyspnoea at rest, pericarditis, myocarditis, endocarditis, symptomatic aortic stenosis, cardiomyopathy, unstable or acute heart failure, uncontrolled tachycardia16

  • Hypertension: resting blood pressures of a systolic >180 or diastolic >100 or higher should receive medication before regular physical activity18 with particular restrictions on heavy weights strength conditioning, which can create particularly high pressures20

  • Osteoporosis: avoid activities with a high risk of falling16

  • Fever: should be settled to avoid a risk of developing myocarditis18

  • Unexplained dizzy spells8

  • Acute pulmonary embolus or pulmonary infarction. Excessive or unexplained breathlessness on exertion18

  • Any acute severe illness18

Contraindications taken from - BACR (2006) Phase IV Exercise Instructor Training Manual and ACSM (2009) Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Cited in: Welsh Local Government Association. (2010) National Exercise Referral Scheme. Cardiff: Welsh Local Government Association. Futher information here

Disclaimer - Health professionals are not trained in giving exercise programmes to individuals and this resource is not intended to encourage anyone to go beyond their own experience. However, guiding someone to walk, swim, cycle or dance is within everyone’s understanding.

Pre-participation Screening Summary of updated ACSM recommendations 21

ASCM 2015


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