Expert offers tips for healthy, effective workouts - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Expert offers tips for healthy, effective workouts

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

The spring weather is perfect for just about any kind of outdoor activity, but if you're not careful, an injury on that first run or jog of the season could keep you inside for a few more weeks.

If you've spent more time on the couch than at the gym over the past couple of months, there are a few things you should keep in mind before working out again.

Your workout should begin and end with five to 10 minutes of stretching. This will help you avoid sprains and strains.

It's also key to set realistic goals and pace yourself.

"It's always important to start slow and progress each week. If you can do a little more than before the previous week, that's best way to go about it," said Brad Awalt, with Vanderbilt Health Plus.

And when it comes to how long you should be working out, it depends on the intensity of the activity.

"For moderate activity, shoot for 150 minutes a week. Maybe five days at 30 minutes each day. For vigorous activity, something like jogging, a little less because it is more intense. That would be 75 minutes a week, or three days at about 20 minutes," Awalt said.

Combine cardio with two days of strength training each week, like lifting weights or push ups. And make sure to get in three to four days of flexibility training as well, like intense stretching.

At the end of each workout, don't forget to cool down.

"You need your body to adapt. Come from up here and bring it down here. You can do the same activity. If you bike, just bike slower. Bring heart rate down. Cool your body down a bit," Awalt said.

You're probably always hearing about new exercise routines. If you have medical issues, like a heart condition or diabetes, you should check with your doctor before trying out anything new.

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