All sports differ in speed, endurance, strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. Athletes who have never followed any kind of strength and conditioning program must be trained more carefully in their respective sport.

The beginner athlete must remember that athletic performance is the result of many years of training. Therefore, the most important factor in beginner programs is patience. Warm-up exercises for flexibility are a must before any athletic activity. It helps avoid muscle or tendon injuries.

Walking briskly or jogging will allow the muscles and tendons to get ready. Strengthening exercises for the muscles, especially the front lower leg and upper thigh, is also necessary to help prevent injury. Other preventative measures include wearing only the best athletic shoes for your respective sport and examining old shoes for wear areas and imbalances.

Whatever the level of athletic conditioning, keep in mind that exercise , eating well and rest and recovery are of the greatest importance and will allow you to reach your physical excellence in your respective sport.

Dr.Robert F. Weiss is a podiatrist specializing in foot and ankle surgery. He was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Marathon Trials. Weiss is a veteran of 35 Marathons and has a practice in Darien, affiliated with Stamford Hospital and member of Stamford Health Medical Group-Foot & Ankle Institute. Dr. Weiss resides in Westport.