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      Staying healthy while keeping fit

      COLUMBIA (WACH) - These days it seems like more and more people are putting on their running shoes.

      "You can lace up your shoes, you can walk out the door. Less equipment is needed so there's less expense associated. No gym membership fees. No personal training fees. You can do it by yourself. It's a great social activity as well." says Toni Jumper, the owner of Fleet Feet Sports in Irmo.

      An activity that makes runners like April Storey passionate about the sport.

      But she wasn't always certain that running would be in her future.

      "I discovered that I had a heart condition in 2000 after my second pregnancy. So my condition was postpartum cardiomyopathy due to pregnancy." says April.

      April started noticing something was wrong after she came home from the hospital from having her second child.

      "I was having some chest pains. It was uncomfortable to lay down. I couldn't breathe." April explains.

      She went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with her heart condition.

      The doctors drew out the excess fluid and said she would simply have to wait for her heart to return to normal.

      Once she was able to excercise again, she started to get the running itch.

      "I discovered my love for running right here at Fleet Feet. I started out with a program they were offering called 'Run A Mile'. Basically I just wanted to be able to run one mile and add that into my everyday workout." says April.

      But it turned out that one mile was not enough for April.

      She wanted more.

      But she realized she should probably consult with her doctor first.

      "It was not until the half marathon that I decided, which that was in 2011, I probably needed to seek advice from my doctor. Make sure that everything was ok to do that type of distance." April explains.

      And he gave her the go ahead...with some conditions.

      "He advised me for that type of distance that the best thing for me to do would be intervals. So I've done all my half marathons and my marathons through an interval. Run three minutes, walk a minute." says April.

      That one minute in between runs allows April's heart to recover and allows her to properly catch her breath.

      April says it's incredibly important to make your health a priority, even if you feel like there aren't enough hours in the day.

      "If you're concerned about 'I have family, I don't have time to do it' - your family needs you. Make the time to do it. I get up at 5:00 in the morning to make sure I get my runs in." encourages April.

      And it's always important to set goals for yourself, even if you feel like your body can't do it.

      "If you have a condition, I would say seek medical advice. Talk with your doctor. Let him know what it is your goals are so that the two of you can work together and make sure that your goals are realistic." April states.

      Realistic goals that will ultimately make for a healthier...and happier...you.