updated 5/7/2004 5:51:29 PM ET 2004-05-07T21:51:29

The opinions expressed herein are the guest's alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have a question about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

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Question: I need help getting fit for spring sports. I wanted to join some of the spring sport teams, including tennis. I started doing some stretches and push ups, but after two days, my back really hurts.

Answer: You need to start with aerobic exercise 3-5 times per week for 20-30 minutes, and resistance exercise 2-3 times per week. The aerobic exercise could be walking, swimming, biking, jogging, or any of the aerobic machines in the gym. At the gym you ought to have a trainer set up a weightlifting program for you. If you don't belong to a gym, you could try a video tape to instruct you. Collage Video,, (800) 433-6769, is a good resource.

If you're looking for a beginner weightlifting book, I recommend books by Bill Pearl, Wayne Westcott, Thomas Baechle, Steve Fleck, or William Kraemer, but if you go to your local bookstore and browse, look for books with pictures that make it clear what you need to do. You might also consult with the coach of one of the teams you want to join and see what they recommend for a training plan. Once you get fit you can start to train specifically for the sport you're interested in.

Richard Weil, MEd, CDE, is an exercise physiologist and certified diabetes educator. He has published dozens of articles on exercise and health and has appeared on many television programs. He also speaks about health at many national conferences.

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