Ease Into An Exercise Routine This Spring

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Knoxville (WVLT) Warm, sunny weather has a way of putting a little extra swing in our step.

It also has a way of motivating us to get outside and get moving.

Medical Reporter Jessa Goddard has your spring training guide to better health.

Exercise can literally cure some diseases.

It can help prevent some forms of cancer.

Exercise helps with arthritis, and can even help prevent and reverse depression.

And if that's not enough, it can help you lose weight, and look more toned and trim.

But, where do you begin?

An exercise routine begins with a single step.

And with spring right around the corner, Melissa Harrison and Molly Leake hit the walking path at Lakeshore Park three to four times a week.

Harrison says, "I'm actually trying to exercise a little bit more, because I'm supposed to go skiing next month. And I'm not ready!"

And the American Heart Association says it's all you need for heart health.

St. Mary's Health and Fitness Center Assistant Manager Matt Smith recommends beginning with 30 minutes of walking, most days of the week.

"Walking is definitely a good place to start, I always suggest, especially if you haven't done anything in a while, always start of with walking."

Smith says, the important thing, is to get and keep moving.

It doesn't necessarily mean following a strict, time consuming regimen at the gym, although that does have its benefits.

The key, Smith says, is to start low and go slow.

"If you come in and try to pick up where you left off, if you worked out before. Or, if you've never worked out before and you just hit the ground running."

Many beginners make the mistake of starting out too aggressively, only to give up when they get tired, sore or injured.

"Warming up and stretching are two of the most important things. They're also two of the most neglected things for people that are just beginning an exercise program."

The important thing is to choose an activity you enjoy, like Melissa and Molly did.

That will increase your chances of making exercise less of a chore and more of a habit.

Whenever you begin an exercise program, it's a good idea to consult your doctor.

Anyone with major health risks, men 45 and older and women 55 and older should get medical clearance.

But no matter what your age or medical condition, with your doctor's help, you should be able to find some form of exercise you can do safely.

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