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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; ;


When your grandparents were young it could have been hard for their parents to start their car. The engine may not have started first time and then it needed to run for a little while to warm up before it could drive away.

exercisingOf course some people may have driven off without warming the engine, but people who now love very 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 exercise too.

Warming up gets muscles moving slowly at first - like warming up the engine.

Then the muscles are more elastic (stretchy) so they are able to move smoothly, work better together and help you to do your best with less chance of getting an injury.

How to get your muscles going

Aim to spend about 15 minutes on this part of exercising.

1. Warming up your body

These are some of the things that are good for warming up.

  • 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 any further than you can do comfortably!)
  • Breathe steadily while you stretch slowly.
  • Only stretch until the muscle feels tight, never until it hurts.
  • Also do a full body stretching session 3 times a week for flexible muscles.

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, dancing, jumping.

Get your whole family involved and have some fun together!

How to cool down

After your 'high energy' activity, you should spend some time 'cooling' down so that your muscles can go soft and relaxed again, and get rid of any waste products - when your body uses the energy that comes from glucose in your blood, ketones are made and your blood system needs to carry these away to your kidneys.

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

  • exercisingSlow down 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 - gentle and slow - and never so hard that they hurt.
  • 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 don't cool down too fast. If you are sweaty from your exercise, the sweat could evaporate from your skin quickly if the weather is cold and windy, and you will feel cold.

Keep drinking water and have some snacks 

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 of water
  • Every 20 minutes during a high activity 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 only 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 when you are exercising.

exercising exercising

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

Get into the routine of regular drinks - tap temperature 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.


Have something to eat about an hour before you do hard exercise and have some snacks to eat during breaks to keep your energy levels up.

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, going for a long walk 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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