New to jogging? Don't skip doctor's visit

Dec. 31, 2011 at 11:22 PM
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ST. LOUIS, Dec. 31 (UPI) -- For those who want to hit the ground running in 2012 by taking up jogging, a U.S. expert suggests not skipping the visit to a primary care physician.

Chris Sebelski, an assistant professor of physical therapy at Saint Louis University and an avid runner herself, said running is very accepting of beginners, but before you begin, visit your primary care doctor for a complete body checkup and talk about your exercise plans.

Depending on your goals and current state of fitness, you may also consult a physical therapist or nutritionist so that they can help you create a holistic plan, Sebelski added.

"Remember, it's so much better to prevent injuries than to try to recover from them," Sebelski said in a statement. "It's easy to go overboard during the enthusiasm of planning, but be sure you accurately acknowledge your current level of fitness. If you haven't been exercising at all, you'll want to start with a walking/jogging mix."

Some people feel very tired for the first few weeks after they begin to exercise, so set a reasonable goal that you'll be able to stick with as your body gets used to the new activity. Consider journaling to keep track of your progress and how you feel, Sebelski advised.

"Make your goals personal," Sebelski said. "On an everyday level, the key is to think about small steps and celebrate the little victories."

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