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Should You Wear Jewelry to the Gym?

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It’s a question every newly-engaged fitness fanatic runs into: What am I supposed to do with my ring when I’m at the gym? After all, suddenly you’ve got hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of hardware on your finger. Leaving it in your car or the locker room seems risky. But is it really safe to keep jewelry on when you’re sweating it out?

“Many women have certain pieces of jewelry that never come off,” acknowledges Franci Cohen, a certified personal trainer and nutritionist based in New York. (Add these 10 workout hair accessories that actually work to your fitness wardrobe—you won't want to take them off!) “But it can definitely pose as a dangerous weapon during workouts.” Cohen learned this first hand as a teen, when she left a ring on while kickboxing—and ended up with cuts and bruises not just on her ring finger, but on the two surrounding it.

What you do with your ring might depend on what you're doing. Weights while wearing a ring is another easy way to hurt your hand—and the band to boot, says Jenny Skoog, a personal trainer in New York City. She’s seen precious stones get knocked out of their settings, and the band itself can get banged up during weight workouts. Plus, a ring can affect your grip, which might pose a safety risk.

And while many women wear their engagement and wedding rings on chains around their neck while they work out, necklaces are a no-no, says Cohen. “One summer, a friend of mine scratched her cornea while jogging, as her gold necklace—which had sharp edges—flew up at her face and nicked her eye.” (How to Untangle the Mess in Your Jewelry Box.)

Skoog also recommends against bracelets, watches, and earrings, all of which can get caught on your clothing or equipment during exercise and cause you to injure yourself. (Fashionable Fitness Trackers probably don’t count.) 

Ultimately, what you do with your ring is up to you. But if you're worried, get in the habit of taking off your jewelry before leaving the house for a sweat session. Or try this clever idea: Make a two-inch slit in a tennis ball with a box cutter, then stash in your gym bag. To store valuables, squeeze the ball and pop money or jewelry inside.

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