By Samuetta Hill Drew
People of all ages, sizes and ethnic backgrounds are engaging in different forms of outdoor exercises. Because of our geographical location, the weather provides us with typically warmer falls and winters than other locations around our country. This warmer weather allows people to continue their outdoor exercising even as the seasons change to colder temperatures.
With cooler temperatures comes shorter days which equates to shorter daylight hours. The U.S. will end daylight saving time soon. The actual ending date is November 6. This means we will have shorter daylight hours. Therefore, those who enjoy walking and jogging outdoors may possibly begin their morning exercise in the dark and/or their evening exercise in the dusk to dark, as well.
The shortage of daylight hours can create somewhat unsafe exercising conditions. This seasonal change of cooler temperatures resulting in limited morning and evening daylight has prompted a new safety series. The intent of this new safety series is to equip walkers and joggers with some safety recommendations to help keep them safe. We want them to be shrewd, alert and prepared to respond assuming they sense some type of danger or inconvenience.
We will begin with some basic rules that apply whether you are a walker or jogger:
• Stay alert by being always aware of your surroundings. Headphones are great for playing your popular motivational tunes and ear buds for playing those same motivational tunes or engaging in those morning conversations with family and/or friends, but they can be a major distraction. Therefore, be cautious of their usage and pay attention.
• Carry a whistle or some small device that can make a loud noise. This will become your alarm device. It could possibly startle a would-be attacker into running off. It can also alert someone if you become engaged in an unsafe situation. Whistles can be purchased at a sporting goods store. You want one from R60 to R130. Place it on a lanyard around your neck so you can raise the alarm quickly if you feel unsafe.
• Use an app to call for help. Alternatively, there are various mobile or app-based panic buttons available, including the 1st for Women panic button.
• Join a group of neighbors, friends or club that enjoys participating in the same form of exercise. As the old saying goes, “there is safety in numbers.” It can make for a fun experience. Keeping an Eye on Safety while being involved in outdoor exercising such as walking, or jogging, is a smart idea, as well as a healthy one.