If you’ve started exercising and taking part in outdoor activities, it’s important to remember to take safety seriously. Whether you walk, hike, swim or bike, participate safely. Here are some tips to remember.
Keep Your Environment Safe
• Take an ID and cellphone with you when exercising outdoors.
• Keep headphone volume turned low so you can hear someone approach from behind.
• Tell others where you’re going and when you’ll be back.
• Alter your bicycling or walking times or routes occasionally so as not to be predictable to criminals.
• Avoid working out at dusk and dark unless you have reflective clothes, lights on bikes or a flashlight.
• Always go against the flow of traffic when walking/running and with the flow of traffic when biking using bike lanes when available.
• Hike or swim with a buddy to reduce your chance of being targeted.
• Pay attention to your surroundings while exercising outdoors.
• Dress appropriately for the weather; dress in layers that can be easily removed.
• Wear the right shoes for the activity.
• Double knot sneakers so a loose shoelace won’t trip you up.
• Work out in the morning or early evening to avoid the heat of the day.
• Apply sunscreen to your face and exposed arms and legs when exercising outdoors.
• Drink plenty of water before and after exercise; bring water with you.
• Warm up before exercise by doing some stretches to limber up muscles.
• Know the signs of heat exhaustion: dizziness, muscle cramps, nausea, headache, fainting, confusion and pale skin.
• Listen to your body; hold off exercise if you’re feeling sick, fatigued or under the weather.
• Be mindful of wear and tear on certain parts of the body (the elbows in tennis, the shoulders in swimming, the knees in running).
• Incorporate a mix of activities to stay injury-free.
Keep Your Feet Healthy
Foot health is a crucial element to be able to exercise effectively. We put our feet through a lot of stress, and often tend to neglect them. Make sure foot care is on your to-do list, and treat them kindly so you can continue to exercise minus bumps, lumps, blisters and injury.
• Check your feet often for cuts, growths, blisters and ingrown toenails. Diabetics should do a foot check daily.
• Wash and dry your feet thoroughly before putting on shoes.
• Wear clean, thick athletic socks or footies made of moisture-wicking material.
• Make sure your athletic shoes fit well, are supportive and are the right shoe for the activity.
• Evaluate your exercise shoes every six months. Replace them if any of the following is true: The treads are worn, your arches are tired after activity, your shins or hips are achy, or you have a burning sensation on the bottom of your feet.
• Leave blisters alone. Avoid popping them, and cover with a Band-Aid or moleskin.
• Put your feet up when you’re relaxing to increase circulation.
• Treat your feet to a warm footbath or, better yet, to an occasional pedicure.
• Prevent circulation problems by avoiding crossing your legs at the knee/ankle or switching the cross frequently.
• Stand up regularly for a few minutes if you sit a lot during the day.
• Visit a podiatrist if you’re worried about a foot problem, such as a corn, calluses, bunions or injury.