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Are You "Safety Smart" About Exercise?

Whether you're playing a sport, riding your bike or just tossing a ball around with your friends, it's important to do certain things to stay safe. Otherwise you might get hurt—and that's no fun!

To see whether you're "safety smart" when it comes to exercise, answer the questions below and then read the information to find out more. The more times you answer "yes," the more safety smart you are!

Do you always wear a helmet when you're supposed to? If you said yes, you're really using your head! Whether you're biking or inline skating around the neighborhood, or playing sports like baseball, football and hockey, wearing a helmet helps keep you safe in case you fall or get hit by a ball! Make sure it's the right type of helmet for the activity you're doing. It's not smart to use your bike helmet for softball or your softball helmet for hockey.

Does your helmet fit right? Here's another heads up: A helmet that's too big, wobbly or uncomfortable isn't going to protect you right. So don't borrow your big sister's or your friend's helmet. Your coach or someone at the store can help you and your parents pick one that fits you just right. Once you have your helmet, always make sure you put it on the right way.

Are you fully equipped to have fun? Helmets are just one important piece of safety equipment. To stay safe, you might need to wear other types of gear depending on what you're doing. Like how you need to wear guards on your wrists, elbows and knees when you're roller blading or skate boarding. And you need to wear a face mask, a mouth guard, pads, shoes with cleats and a protective cup (if you're a guy!) when you play football. You usually need different gear for different sports and activities, so check with your parents or coach to make sure you're fully equipped to have fun and that everything fits you right!

Do you get warmed up? When it's cold outside, your parents might warm up the car for a few minutes instead of starting to drive with a cold engine. You need to do the same with your muscles before you start playing hard or you could get hurt. If you play sports, your coach will have you do warm-up exercises before each practice or game. If you're doing something on your own, you can warm up, too. Like when you ride your bike, start by riding slow for a few minutes so your muscles can warm up—then pick up speed!

Do you quit when something hurts? If you fall, get bumped or feel pain when you exercise, it's smart to stop what you're doing and ask an adult to check you out right away. If you keep going when you're injured, you can make it a lot worse and get sidelined for a longer time.

Do you stay away from unsafe situations? It's definitely not smart to do stuff like riding your bike after dark, swimming alone or without a lifeguard around, using broken equipment or playing on surfaces that are rough, slippery or full of holes—you could get hurt!

There's lots more to learn about sports safety: Playing It Safe With Sports Safety

Go With the Flow: Drink Those Fluids

Reviewed by the Scientific Advisory Panel, 2006