9 Tips for Safe Outdoor Workouts

To rev up your routine, spring out of the gym

woman running in the woods

Exercising outside can be more stimulating than being in a gym, but it does require more preparation and, in some cases, caution.

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Find 9 tips for moving your workout outside, including safety precautions:

1. Dress for the weather

If it is hot and humid, wear lighter-colored clothes with less weight and moisture-wicking ability. This keeps you cooler. If it is colder, particularly cold and wet, wear three layers. The clothing closest to your skin should be able to wick moisture away from your body so you don’t feel your sweaty. Your middle layer should include insulation, whether wool, down or fleece. The third, and final outer layer should be clothing that is water- and wind-resistant.

2. Be visible to drivers

In general, choose light-colored clothes, preferably reflective. Drivers, especially people behind the wheels of SUVs or large trucks, may have difficulty seeing you at all hours. Pedestrians are most often hit when cars turn corners or a traffic light changes.

3. Wear the right shoes

Hiking boots should be sturdy with a strong tread to prevent ankle injuries and falls. Running or walking shoes should be made for these purposes and have a comfortable fit.

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4. Travel light

Slather on the sun block and spray the bug repellant before you leave rather than bringing these with you. Put any emergency money, keys and identification in a pocket or small pack so your hands are free. Carry a cell phone in case of injury or danger.

5. Turn down the headphones

If you use headphones while exercising, keep the volume low enough so you can hear what’s going on around you.

6. Watch for dogs

Even chained or fenced dogs may try to defend their territory, and they may attack if they feel provoked. Maintain a cautious distance.

7. Vary your schedule

If you work out regularly, you may want to vary your exercise schedule. Consider varying the days of the week, times you go and trails you take as safety precautions.

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8. Choose well-traveled paths

Stay away from less-traveled areas. Also, as you encounter people, use correct posture and make direct eye contact; these show confidence to deter safety issues. Watch in all directions, especially behind you.

9. Let people know where you are

Check in with a friend, family member or neighbor. Tell them where you are going and for how long, and then check back with them at a specific time. If you can’t exercise with someone else, the regular check-in may save you from a dangerous circumstance going unknown.

Outdoor exercise can be enjoyable and productive, and following the above simple guidelines can enhance your chances of being safe, responsible and prepared.