Sure, fitness and exercise can be fun. But getting injured and putting your body at risk are surefire ways to take the fun out of sports and activities. If you follow a few safety tips, you'll be able to keep smiling, sweating, and moving in the right direction—toward a healthier you! back to top
1. Drink water.
You may be wondering how drinking water counts as a safety tip. Well, staying hydrated keeps your circulatory system pumping so you don't get overheated. And if you don't drink enough water, your muscle strength
will suffer. So go ahead and drink six to eight ounces of water every 15 to 20 minutes when you're exercising. Don't wait until you feel thirsty. To be sure you're getting enough water when you workout, take the pee test! If you pee only a small amount and it's dark yellow and strong-smelling, you probably need to drink more water. Your urine should be plentiful and pale yellow, almost invisible. If you're drinking plenty of water and your urine is still scarce or dark, tell your health professional or an adult you trust. back to top
2. Wear protective equipment.
You may be an ace on inline skates or a skateboard, but you're not bigger than a car. And even the best skaters wipe out from time to time. Wearing a helmet, wrist guards or gloves, and elbow and knee protection can keep a spill from becoming a trip to the hospital. And you don't have to look like a dork to play it safe. There are some cool-looking helmets out there. Besides, the dorks are the people risking head injuries by refusing to wear a brain bucket. back to top
3. Wear the right footwear.
Wearing the wrong kind of shoe is one of the most common causes of exercise injuries. If you're serious about exercise, save those platform sneaks for the next family picnic and lace up a pair of athletic shoes
instead. The shoes you wear when you work out should fit well, have good support and padding, and be appropriate for your activity. back to top
4. Exercise caution.
You wouldn't put your hand into a beehive. And you wouldn't jump rope in the middle of a busy street. So why would you exercise in a place where you don't feel safe? You want to be free to concentrate on what you're doing, not what's lurking around the corner. You'll want to avoid places that are isolated, deserted, or you're unfamiliar with. And savvy girls don't travel alone on wooded bicycle and running paths or parts of a city they don't know. Exercise in places where there are other people around, or bring a Fitness Friend
. Then you'll be able to relax and have fun! back to top
5. Just starting out?
Check with your health professional before you start a new fitness program. This is particularly important if you are overweight or obese
or you have a medical condition like asthma
, diabetes, or heart disease. Your health professional may do a physical exam to see if you have any health risks or signs of illness. He or she can also give you information about how to exercise safely. back to top