Spring is here! It’s time to pack away the winter clothes and get out into the sunshine. Taking long walks is a great form of exercise. If you’re going to take advantage of the warmer weather, here are a few suggestions to help you do so safely.
Start a walking club and try to avoid walking alone. Perhaps you can walk with a coworker on your lunch break or at the end of shift. Maybe you can make a family walk a part of your daily routine before you settle in for the evening. Remember, there is safety in number.
Don’t hit hit the hiking/biking/running trails, especially in the woods, alone. However, if you have no choice but to go on your own, make sure you tell someone what route you’re taking and how long you’ll be gone and do not deviate. In the event that you should be injured along the trail help will be able to find you. Also bring pepper spray with you. It’s good for chasing off more then just human predators.
Stay in well lit, well traveled areas. With the days getting longer, it should be easier then ever to get that walk in while the sun is still out. Regardless of when you’re walking, you’ll want to stay out of isolated areas and be mindful of places where an assailant could possibly hide such as shrubbery.
If you’re going to be out exercising at dawn or dusk be sure to wear light colored clothing and reflective gear. You want to ensure that regardless of where you are you’re easy to see.
Walk on the sidewalk toward oncoming traffic. Doing so makes it more difficult for someone in a vehicle to follow you. However, if you do feel as though you’re being followed look back to see who it is. Then quickly walk or run to the nearest group of people or into a crowded place. If you’re walking in a residential area and have to approach a house. Shout Fire instead of Help. According to Steve Kardian, “Studies have shown that people are more apt to respond if they feel threatened by fire.”
Always carry some spare change on you in the event you need to make an emergency call. You don’t want to run the risk of having your cellphone die leaving you unable to contact anyone. If you’re in more rural areas where you are unlikely to find payphones make certain that your cell has a full charge before you leave the house. Some cell phone companies sell a portable recharger. If you can you may want to get something like this and have it charged, ready, and with you during your trek just in case.
Most importantly, avoid wearing headphones when walking. Headphones reduce your ability to focus on your surroundings.
Be smart, be safe, and enjoy the spring!