It's already mid-January, and with New Year's resolutions in full swing, it's time to consider what will stick with you throughout 2016. If your new commitment is fitness-related, you're not alone; 69% of 2015's New Year's resolutions1 were as well. These new fitness goals will likely take you outside to walk, run and cycle throughout the year (and possibly beyond). When working out in public, it's important to keep safety in mind.
Here are seven safety tips to help keep you safe during your outdoor exercise sessions. Download a printable PDF that you can hang somewhere you'll see it as you prep for your workout.
- Don't wear headphones in both ears
Attackers typically look for "soft" targets, meaning people who don't have their guard up. If you're blasting music in both ears, it means you might have a harder time hearing someone approaching you from behind.
- Be aware of your surroundings
It's easy to get lost in your thoughts while running or cycling, but it's really important that you stay aware of what's going on around you. Scanning the area and being alert show attackers that you're not a soft target.
- Tell someone where you're going and when you should be back
Check in with someone before you leaving for a workout session lets them know if and when it's time to worry. It also tells them where to start the search if they do realize something's wrong.
- Wear reflective gear at night or early morning
This helps cars and fellow athletes see you coming.
- Check police blotters
Simply Googling the name of your city with "police blotter" will help you get informed with local crime rates. Choose paths or neighborhoods that have lower likelihood of crime - even if you have to drive there to begin your workout.
- Work out in well-lit areas, preferably around plenty of bystanders
Light is a well-known crime deterrent. In fact, Stanford University recently reported that murder and rape decreased by 43% and 56%, respectively, in that extra hour of sun you get each night during Daylight Savings Time. "...better lighting increases the likelihood of being seen by witnesses or police, which in turn discourages criminal activity," explains Katie Welter of the University of Virginia. You might also consider a personal alarm with flashing lights.
- Carry pepper spray or gel
No number of risk reduction strategies can completely eliminate the safety risks that come along with today's society. SABRE's athletic product line is designed to provide police-strength protection at your fingertips.
The Duathlete and Runner models are now available in gel, which virtually eliminates wind blow-back by reducing airborne particles. This means consumers don't have to worry about their pepper-based personal safety product affecting innocent bystanders. Gel also boasts a 20% greater range than traditional pepper sprays. More on pepper gel.