How can I ensure my personal safety when walking outside?

The best way to be safe when walking outside will be to walk in an area you know and trust. Violence is rare and can often be avoided. Be sure to walk tall and look confident. If walking in the early morning or evening, wear bright colors and be sure to walk in well lit areas. You should feel safe where you walk so avoid putting yourself at risk.

Safety is always paramount when exercising outside. I traveled for work for five years and was always in unfamiliar places.  Steps that I took to ensure safety included:

  • Take identification with you or wear a Road ID (www.roadid.com).  Road IDs are great because you can put the phone number of your doctor and loved one on it.  If you don't have some form of ID and something happens, no one will know who to contact.
  • Leave a note where you are going and when you expect to come back.  I even did this at hotels and left a note with the front desk and also in my room.  If you aren't sure where you are going than at least leave the direction you are taking. If you live alone, text or email a friend and say - 'running for 45 min in the park' and then when you get back text them and say - 'Home!;  Your friend doesn't have to respond but at least you have someone looking out for you.
  • Wear some type of reflective material.  If your clothes aren't reflective, buy some stickers to put on your shoes or buy a reflective vest or ankle bands. 
  • Don't wear an MP3 player.  This is hard for some people but it really does make you less aware of your surroundings.  At a minimum, just put one headphone in and leave the volume down low.
  • Carry a whistle.  This isn't going to save you from an attacker but if you fell or were hurt, it could at least bring attention to yourself. 
  • Don't do the same routes at the same time every day.  If someone is watching you, don't give them your schedule.  Mix it up a bit.
  • If you come across someone that makes you feel uneasy, think to yourself what that person looks like and is wearing, i.e. Tall, thin, black hair, orange shirt.  This can help a person ID someone after an incident.  
  • Lastly, don't talk on your cell phone.  It leaves you vulnerable because you aren't paying attention to what is going on around you.

Don't let your fear keep you from pursuing activities outdoors.  Be smart and be conscious and you will already be one step ahead!

Always be aware of your surroundings and walk with your head held high with confidence. Do not put yourself in an area that is secluded.If walking at night make sure its a well lighted area like a park. Try to walk where others are doing the same if you're by yourself. Its always good to walk with a friend plus it motivates you to continue on in your exercise regimen. Be safe and have fun.

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Walking Safety

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.