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Help available for couch potatoes
Exercise program prepares participants for Fun Run 5K
Steve Warner photo--McMinnvilles Ronnie Mackie keeps in shape by running at the Civic Center.

The one-month fitness program called From Couch to 5K has just taken its first steps.
If you’re looking to get in shape for the annual Stars and Stripes Fun Run on the Fourth of July, there’s still time to act. The 5K race is one of the most popular in Warren County and typically draws hundreds of participants. The 5K distance is equivalent to 3.1 miles.
So far the From Couch to 5K program has only called for brisk walking. A combination of brief running and walking begins Wednesday so you’re still getting involved at the ground level.
“The thought of starting to get off the couch and run a 5K is a daunting and sometimes scary thought,” said USA Gym owner Paige Northcutt. “Several of you probably have watched others cross the finish line and said ‘I can never do that,’  but then you see a little kid, an older adult over 70, or someone that needs to lose 30-plus pounds cross the finish line and you think, ‘Well maybe could I do that.’”
Northcutt has worked with people of all fitness levels. She says the tendency is to jump into an exercise program full throttle, but that can often lead to injury.
If you are just beginning to exercise, have low expectations and start gradually. You may have been able to run an 8-minute mile in high school, but that has likely changed if you have been inactive for many years.
Northcutt says remember to keep a positive attitude and to wear appropriate workout gear.
“Yes, you can do this!” said Northcutt. “Make sure you have a good pair of running shoes, a pair that has arch support and good cushion in your heel. You’ll need to also wear a T-shirt or tank top and a pair of shorts. If you’re wearing a tank top, make sure you put on sunblock.”

If you’re just now joining the program, don’t fret. Here is the schedule for the rest of the week.
Brisk walk for 5 minutes. Jog for 1 minute. Walk for 2 minutes. Jog for 1 minute. Repeat these intervals until you reach 30 minutes. Afterwards, include a 5-minute cool down.
Walk 35 minutes at a brisk pace
Repeat Wednesday’s workout