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Exercise safely

warming; up; stretch; cooling; down; exercise; warm; jog; swim; cycle; dance; hitting; kicking; throwing; catching; dodging; high; energy; flex; muscle; cool; ;


Have you ever heard someone starting the engine of an old car?

The engine may not start first time and then it will need to run for a little while to warm up before it can drive away.

exercisingOf course some people may drive off without warming the engine, but people who love old cars would never do that. Why? Because if you warm up the engine first, all the oil can get round the engine and there is less chance of doing any damage to it.

Your body needs to warm up before hard exercise too.

Warming up increases the heat all through your body - like warming up the engine.

Once your body is warm, the muscles are softer and more supple. This means that they are more elastic (stretchy) so they are able to move smoothly, work better together and help you to do your best without risking injury.

How to warm up

There are three parts to a good warm-up.

1. Warming up your body

  • Jog for 2-3 minutes - just enough to raise a light sweat.
  • Walk quickly.
  • Swim slowly.
  • Cycle slowly.
  • Dance slowly.

Do any activity which is going to warm the muscles that you are going to be using in your sport or activity, eg. a slow swim is a good warm up for swimming.

Wear warm, loose fitting clothes if the weather is cool, to help your body warm up faster.

2. Stretching
You should aim to stretch all the muscles that you are going to use in your high-energy activity. Give yourself plenty of time and stretch slowly.

Here are some good rules to follow, to make the most of your stretching and lessen the risk of injury.

  • exercisingMake sure you have warmed up properly.
  • Hold each stretch for 10-20 seconds (don't push that bit further than you can do comfortably!)
  • Breathe steadily while you stretch slowly.
  • Only stretch until the muscle feels tight, never until it hurts.
  • Aim to spend about 15 minutes on this session.
  • Do a full body stretching session 3 times a week for flexible muscles.
  • Get the whole family involved and have some fun together!

3. Specific exercises

  • Practise skills which you are going to be using in your sport or other 'high energy' activity, eg. hitting, kicking, throwing, catching, dodging.

How to cool down

After your 'high energy' activity, you should always spend some time cooling down so that your muscles can go soft and relaxed again, and get rid of any waste products.

Really it is a bit like your warm up and stretch routines, only the other way round.

  • exercisingSlowly reduce your high level activity, eg. if you were running, then continue slowing down, don't just stop.
  • Go through the same stretches you did before your activity, making sure that you follow the same rules.
  • Hold the stretch for a bit longer this time, as your muscles are warm and this is a good time to improve their flexibility.
  • Put warm clothes on so that you cool down slowly.

Keep drinking water

exercisingWhen you are exercising, it is really important to make sure that you drink plenty of water because you lose water in sweat and from breathing deeply and fast. 

Also, when your muscles are working hard they need water (in your blood) to carry all the chemicals they make away to your kidneys. It is even more important when the weather is hot and you are going to be playing your sport for a long time.

When you should drink

  • An hour before your game or 'high energy' activity.   1-2 glasses
  • Every 20 minutes during the game.  1 glass
  • After the game.  1-2 glasses
    • After you finish playing sport it can be a good idea to have some juice or other drink with sugar in it to recover more quickly.
    • A sports drink is good if you are going to be exercising hard for longer than an hour, but unless you are training very hard, eg if you are in a State team, water is usually all you need.

It is not a good idea to wait until you're thirsty before you drink.

exercising exercising

Feeling thirsty is your body's way of telling you that it needs water urgently!

Get into the routine of regular drinks - cool water is best (really cold water can make some people sick).

Heat stroke or dehydration can happen to anyone, especially on hot days.

  • If someone who has been exercising hard seems to be acting strangely or has a bad headache, it might be due to not getting enough water.
  • Get that person to sit down in a shady place.  Give him a drink of juice or a sports drink and if he does not feel better in 10 minutes, get him to a doctor.

Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide


This is a slogan that we all know well.

Slip on a shirt

Slop on the sunscreen

Slap on a hat

Seek shade

Slide on sunglasses

There is nothing cool about skin cancer or sunburn, so remember to follow these rules when you are outside playing sport or exercising. 

Wear sunglasses if you are able to wear them safely while you are playing your sport. The sun can damage eyes too.

Dr Kim says:

Dr Kim
Protect your skin,

Protect your eyes,

Protect your body,


It's a good idea to carry a backpack with you if you are skateboarding, riding a bike or jogging. You can carry a few useful things with you such as water, a snack, face cloth (you can wet it to cool yourself down), sunscreen and a lightweight rain proof jacket.


My body and me

Here we are for ever.
Ready to work together.
We started out as friends
Our friendship must never end.
Make exercise and time for play
A part of every single day.
We eat fruit and vegies too,
Drink water and sleep well, do you?
We eat breakfast, lunch and tea,
So we're as healthy as we can be.

Keep fit

Want to know some more about being active?

Look at:

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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