Safety First

Yesterday in spinning class, the girl next to me rushed out with 15 minutes left to go.

A couple of times I’d glanced her way to make sure she was OK. You never know really what to do in those instances: she was new to spinning, and when someone is new to spinning class, the last thing you want to do as a seasoned spinner is make someone even more self-conscious and worried.

Spinning isn’t nearly as daunting as it’s made out to be, and the majority of instructors will work with you to make sure you’re having fun and getting through the class safely.

This was certainly the case for our instructor yesterday, a very kind woman with lots of energy and a great sense of humor and fun. She’s also a bigger woman, a factor I adore for a number of reasons, the least of which is that it’s proof-positive that you don’t have to be a particular size to exercise and the most of which is that it says a lot about the owner of the studio I go to that he employees instructors based on talent, not image.

Anyway, after we did a long series of “races” against others in our class, I did ask her if she was OK. It was the first time all class where I really got a good look at her: young, maybe about my build, but a little smaller, and wearing a huge, bulky, sweatshirt and sweatpants. And she had no water with her. Our instructor had to bring her some.

My first thought about this post was that women need to stop caring how in the hell they look when they work out. Honest to God. Ladies, you don’t need to cover yourselves up to exercise. Especially to the degree this girl did, which no doubt contributed to what she told me was just “exhaustion.” There is no way you can get through an hour-long spin class wearing that much heavy, warm clothing. And to come to any work out without water? Holy smokes. You’re asking for problems. And I knew she’d probably never step foot in class again, which is a shame because spinning is awesome. But most of all, it just wasn’t safe for her.

So really this got me thinking about safety when you’re working out. What steps do you take? What keeps you safe and healthy?

When I run, I always wear bright clothing and reflectors. Even in the daylight. I have a yellow, neon rain jacket I bought for when I used to ride my bike to work and I throw that on over my warm clothes, just to be extra obnoxious. I wear LED armbands and clips. I even wear a siren that acts similar to a grenade in that when you pull out the pin it emits a loud piercing noise. Of course the lights are for when I run in the dark, but the rest are standard when I’m out there on my own.

The thing I’m worst about? Stretching. Oh God, my inability to stretch properly is one of the reasons why I do so much yoga. And I know they say the real key to longevity is flexibility and if so? I’m hosed.

What do you do to keep yourself healthy and safe?