Runners with shin splints and knee pains. Softball players and swimmers with sore shoulders.

As a certified athletic trainer at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital who also works with athletes at Murray High School, Melinda Morgan has seen all that and more.

"You have to work up to things. You can't always start where you left off last year, and people forget that," she said.

Such injuries can be prevented by building up slowly, warming up and stretching properly and wearing the proper clothing — especially the right shoes, she said.

Morgan and Andrew Subudhi, exercise physiologist, will be featured during the Deseret News/Intermountain Health Care Hotline Saturday. From 10 a.m. to noon, they'll take calls on fitness and getting in shape for summer.

The key is exercising "properly," one detail at a time. Clothing. Warm-up. Exercise. Cool-down. And if pain results, besides treating it, it's important to figure out what went wrong, she said. It's easy to decide you should not have run 20 miles the first day you trained for a marathon. It may be trickier to spot the fact that you hurt because of running on trails instead of paved roads.

There are also ways to keep any pain at a minimum. People who know they have temperamental knees or ankles, for instance, can support them. And instead of just bandaging that sore muscle, ice it.

"You want to get to the real source of the problem," Morgan said. "Different footwear, orthotics, terrain changes, mileage changes, working up to things are all key. And if something hurts, you may need to get some physical therapy, which won't make it heal faster, but can create an environment where the body has a chance to fix the problems."

In getting ready, it's important not to overstretch. When you feel a little resistance, stop and hold it. People who are playing softball for the first time of the season, throwing the ball, should ice their shoulders whether they hurt or not. Otherwise, they may not feel it until the next day. And be careful, she said. The rotator cuff is not always stable and it's not something you pay attention to in the mirror when you're flexing. Strengthening the shoulder's stabilizer and "playing within your means" is very important.

"I admit it. I don't really like to stretch. Nobody likes to stretch. If you have only 45 minutes to work out, there's an urge to just jump in."

That's a mistake.

People need to remember when they're warming up that any muscle they're trying to stretch needs to be relaxed. A good stretch is not painful but it is uncomfortable. And it should be held 30 to 45 seconds. But if you're "into pain and going further, you can do some harm. The key with stretching is being properly warmed up. You should already be starting to sweat."

She suggests lightly jogging to get your body into a sweat so you can have blood flowing to the muscle.

She also warns that if you start with too many activities in a day as you're getting into shape, it will be hard to tell what made you sore. She also suggests precautions be taken on colder days. You need to keep warm.

Before even getting started, Morgan said to have a clean bill of health from a doctor just to make sure there's no heart problem or blood pressure problem "that will manifest big time if you're starting to do something."

"Whatever you're going to do, increase it a little at a time depending on how sedentary you've been. And remember to pace yourself.

"Exercise is great for a lot of reasons. It forms coordination and builds strength. Just getting outside in the sunshine, away from computers and TVs, is a great thing. Physical fitness is an emotional balancer and you'll have more discipline, plus get some energy."