Even the best athletes can get injured if they’re not careful. So play it smart! Here are tips to help keep you from getting hurt when you exercise or play sports.

Warm Up, Cool Down

Every workout needs to involve stretching. A good warm up prevents muscle pulls and tears. Cooling down at the end of your workout with more stretching reduces stiffness and soreness the next day and increases your overall flexibility, which is important for moving well in sports. All great athletes make time to warm up and cool down.

Wear the Right Gear

Depending in which sport you are playing, you need to be prepared and protected. When in doubt, wear the safety gear!  Helmets protect your head from scrapes, your skull from breaks, and your brain from concussion. Pads protect your elbows, wrists, and knees—and they’re way more comfortable than a cast. Bright clothes let other people see you coming—especially when they are in cars. Well-fitting shoes and clothes will help you avoid unnecessary trips, falls, sprains, twists, blisters, and burns.

Don’t Overdo It

It is super important to pay attention to how your body feels when you’re exercising or playing a sport. If you are in pain, feel dizzy, sick to your stomach, or unable to catch your breath, stop immediately and rest. These are all signs your body needs to take a break.

Drink LOTS of Water

When you work out, you need to hydrate. Your body keeps you cook by sweating, and you need to replace these fluids. It’s easy, just drink water before, during, and after you exercise. Bring a water bottle with you and just refill it often.

Excerpted from GUY STUFF published and copyrighted 2017 by American Girl Publishing. All rights reserved.