By Daniel Melzer, Oberlin college graduate, interested in English & Neuroscience. Teens know that exercise is really important in order to stay healthy. But as a teenager, it can be confusing to know how to exercise safely and avoid injury, especially while during sports. In middle school and high school, as a teen athlete, I got all sorts of conflicting information from many different sources including coaches, peers – and senile P.E teachers. Sorting through this jumble can be difficult and can be really discouraging when it comes to working out. Even if you don’t play varsity sports, its still very easy to hurt yourself and get injured doing even simple exercise such as jogging or lifting weights. And since teens are more likely to take risks, the chances of pushing themselves too hard and getting hurt is super high. As someone who has played sports at a high level for many years, I want to share some pointers to help you stay healthy and safe when you exercise.
- Stay hydrated: One of the most important things that you can do for your body is todrink water. This can help your muscles stay loose and maintain a healthy fluid balance in your body. However, keep in mind that hydration doesn’t happen immediately, so it’s important to drink lots of water before working out along with during and after.
- Stretch: There are lots of ways to stretch, and I found that the best way to stay flexible and loose absolutely depends on who you ask. Some coaches tell you to stretch before a workout after a warm up, but others will swear that the only way to stretch is only after working out. I would recommend trying out several different strategies, and seeing what works best for you because every body is different.
- If something hurts, stop and listen to your body: While not every ache and pain means you have an injury, pain means that your body is trying to tell you something. When something hurts, stop what you’re doing and make sure that you are OK. It can be really hard to self-diagnose an injury, and there are a lot of reasons besides serious injury that you could be hurting, but it’s still important to listen to your body in order to exercise safely.
- Be safe in the weight room: When working out by lifting weights, it is absolutely essential that you follow safety procedures and use proper form before anything else. Many of my teammates, friends, and I have become injured because we didn’t take the right precautions and care while in the weight room. Lifting weights can be a fun, important way to stay fit and healthy, but it’s incredibly important to be safe.
It’s great to be active, but not when you’re treating your body poorly and getting hurt. Plus it’s tougher to work out when you’re injured, so follow these tips to staying safe and you’ll stay fit – and healthy. Last reviewed Nov. 17, 2014.