Keep your resolution by setting realistic exercise goals

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Knoxville (WVLT) The Christmas gifts are open.

The New Year's Ball has dropped.

It's time to step away from the egg nog, and start 2008 off right.

For most us, that includes a new exercise plan.

And, not a moment too soon!

But it's important to make fitness a routine, and not just another resolution.

The average American gained seven to 10 pounds over the last six weeks, and many are feeling it in their waistbands today.

Nicole Yarbrough, St. Mary's Executive Fitness Manager says, "we can tell you we see a big influx into the fitness industry in January, and usually come March it kind of trails back down a little bit."

Yarbrough says people hit the treadmill with the best of intentions.

But often, in an attempt to lose those holiday pounds quickly, people work out too hard for too long, and get burned out and quit, before they see any results.

"Realistically, trying to start an exercise program, may be trying to strive for three days a week would be something more realistic."

Fitness experts recommend you start by joining a gym.

And one that's convenient to you.

Devise a fitness plan with a specialist, a personal trainer can help you navigate equipment and customize a plan to meet your needs.

And set gradual goals, the slower you lose weight, the better the chance you have of keeping it off.

"Realistic and safe weight loss goal for the average individual who doesn't have 10 hours a day to spend in a gym is probably one to two pounds a week."

To lose weight, most fitness experts recommend a combination of cardiovascular exercise and weight training.

Starting off can be as simple as walking and using free weights.

You didn't gain weight overnight, so don't expect to lose it overnight either.

And don't forget to talk with your doctor before you begin a new exercise program, he or she will address your specific health concerns and tell you how to begin safely.

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