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How To Stay Safe While Exercising Outside

How To Stay Safe While Exercising Outside

Working out is important for your health, but it is also critical to put the proper safety techniques in place. Unfortunately, even common sense methods that you often use as a general rule to stay safe are sometimes disregarded in the quest for daily exercise.

Here are a few tips that can get you back on the right side of safety.

1. Buddy Up

Exercising with a friend can help you avoid accidents in a variety of ways. For example, it is easier for motorists to notice two joggers or cyclists than just one. Additionally, if you have difficulty while performing tasks such as hiking, your workout buddy can help you safely pass each obstacle. Utilizing the buddy system is also a way to ensure that you do not push yourself too hard, as the two of you can agree in advance to stick to your limits. As an added bonus, your friend can also serve as a spotter to ensure that you don’t hurt yourself.

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2. Use Reflective Materials

If you will be running, biking, or doing anything else outside, it is wise to put reflective materials on your gear and clothing. This is something that is done by athletes during marathons. It can also allow motorists to see you in poorly lit conditions. Keep in mind that dusk and dawn are not the only times of day when reflective stripes could save your life. After all, if it starts raining or there are a lot of traffic distractions, a driver may fail to notice you. Having something on your body that reflects light is the perfect way to minimize this risk.

3. Map Out Your Route in Advance

Are you preparing to go jogging or cycling in a new area? Or perhaps you like to visit the same spot every single day? Either way, it is smart to map your route out in advance. This will make it possible for you to see issues that could make your workout less safe, including construction, road closures, and special events. Taking just a few minutes to look into everything can save you from many hassles.

4. Take Water and a Snack

Most people hydrate before they begin their exercise routine; however, did you know that it is just as essential to stay hydrated throughout your workout? Signs that you aren’t getting enough water to propel you through each exercise include muscle cramps, fatigue, and dizziness. To avoid these problems, always have water with you so that you hydrate before, during, and after your workout. It is also smart to have a healthy, protein rich snack with you so that you make a good food choice if you feel hungry after exercising.

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5. Tell Someone Else Your Route

If you are unable to work out with a friend, you should at least let someone know where you plan to go cycling, jogging, or hiking. This will provide you with a backup emergency system in case something goes wrong and you are unable to call for help. Let your friend know exactly where you plan to go and how long you anticipate your workout will last. Doing this means that someone will always be waiting for you to check-in with them after you finish. If you fail to do so, they can notify the authorities that you need help.

6. Utilize Places Cars Cannot Go

Approximately 150,000 pedestrians require emergency assistance every year, and another 4,700 die after being struck by a motor vehicle. Runners and joggers are part of this equation, and thousands of cyclists are also at risk of suffering from a serious or even fatal injury. With this in mind, it is best to look for places that are not accessible by motor vehicles. However, make sure that the location you choose is safe enough for your chosen activity. This includes being well kept and located in a low crime area.

7. Be Aware of the Weather

Do you head out your front door without checking the temperature and whether or not a storm is in the forecast? If so, you are taking unnecessary risks with your health. Staying updated about the weather makes it possible to choose the most appropriate type of exercise to ensure your safety. For example, if the heat index is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above, doctors suggest working out in the cool safety of an air conditioned gym instead. The Weather Channel recently added a section to their website (and app) to help runners track the necessary components so that you can make an informed decision.

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8. Wear Shoes and Clothes That Fit Properly

There are many risks associated with choosing the wrong workout gear. If your shoes are not the proper fit, you run the risk of hurting your feet, knees, and lower back. Improperly sized clothing can get caught in your bicycle or cause chaffing. Your clothing can also cause you to become overheated or dehydrate more quickly if it is not made from wicking materials. Due to these potential issues, you should always pay close attention to your footwear and workout clothing choices.

9. Warm Up Before Each Workout

You have a better chance of preventing injuries if you warm up for 20 to 30 minutes at the beginning of each workout. If you are a runner, this might mean walking and slowly increasing your speed until you are ready to begin running. Doing a lighter form of cardiovascular exercise before you begin the harder work is good for your heart and will make you less likely to suffer from an injury as a result of your exercise routine.

10. Stretch After, Not Before

For a long time, people believed that it was most beneficial to stretch before they worked out. Now, science tells us that stretching after the workout is much more important and can have a huge impact on whether or not you end up feeling sore the next day. In a nutshell, your muscles have contracted during the workout, and you need to reset your body by doing some stretches. Incorporating this tip should reduce stiffness and soreness.

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Conclusion

Half of the battle with exercising is getting and staying motivated, so make sure you do something that makes you feel pumped up, such as listening to music. For safety’s sake, though, never turn the volume up so high that you cannot hear road noise.

Featured photo credit: Amanda Mills, USCDCP via public-domain-image.com

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Holly Chavez

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Last Updated on May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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