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.
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.
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.
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.
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