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Spring's a Great Time to Launch an Exercise Program

But be sure to start off slowly

SATURDAY, May 8, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- With the arrival of spring's warmer weather, you may be eager to shake off that winter lethargy by starting an exercise program that includes running or walking.

However, if you've been fairly inactive during the winter, you need to ease into your spring exercise routine, advises Duke University Medical Center.

Your first step should be to your doctor's office. That's especially important if you haven't been active for a long while or if you haven't had a recent medical checkup. That way, your doctor can identify any potential problems or concerns before you start putting your body through its paces.

Identify your goals and preferences. Are you trying to shed 10 or 15 pounds? Is your goal to complete a 5K or 10K run? Or do you simply want to develop a healthy lifestyle habit? Knowing and setting clear goals helps you decide whether you should adopt a moderate or more challenging exercise program.

You should also choose an exercise or activity that you enjoy. Whether it's bicycling, swimming, in-line skating or dancing, you'll be more likely to stick with it if you like doing it.

Even if you can only fit in five or 10 minutes of exercise several times a day, you'll achieve significant health benefits. For example, walk to work or park your car a good distance from the office door.

Also, put your trash can as far from your desk as possible, so you'll have to get up and walk to it every time you want to throw out something. And use a cordless phone and walk around the office while you talk.

At home, remember that house chores such as vacuuming or floor mopping are really forms of exercise. And get rid of the remote control and walk from your sofa to the TV to change channels.

More information

The Penn State Digital Collegian has more about preparing for your spring exercise program.

SOURCE: Duke University Medical Center
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