5 Safety Tips for Walking & Jogging

I read an article about a jogger who never returned from her run, it was a sad reminder for those of us that love to walk or jog outdoors of the threats that we face. We'll be turning back the clocks soon (daylight savings time ends soon) and it may be dark when you hit the streets for a walk. I feel compelled to blog a reminder of some safety tips along with some hopefully helpful links and resources for my fellow walking and jogging pals...

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1. Go with a friend or family member if possible. I know it's not always possible and sometimes you just want to be alone with your thoughts, I get it... but there is evidence to the benefits of social support for weight loss and maintenance: the common connection and sense of community, accountability.

If you are weight loss surgery pre- or post-op maybe find a few people in your bariatric or weight loss support group and create your own walking group. Other resources:

Meet-ups (online resource for finding walking/jogging/hiking groups)
Local Facebook Groups (local Mom's in my area post walking groups all the time)
Mall Walkers (almost every major mall has one, ask at your mall's business office)
Walk with a Doc (a great program for planned walks with a doctor, ask your doctor to join)
Walk from Obesity (find some like-minded walking pals at a walk in your area)

2. Stick to well lit, well-traveled paths. When hiking stay on known, marked trails. Trust me from someone who was once lost for 14 hours in the woods, it's not a good idea to stray from the trail.

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3. Let someone know your path. If you are jogging, walking or hiking alone give someone your route and estimated time of arrival. You may need to change it up now and then to avoid predictability aka "the stalker shakeup." There are lots of free apps: Glympse or BSafe are two I am aware of that will use your phones GPS to track you and provide that info to your contacts. The iPhone latest update has a new feature: Go to your iPhone's settings and then scroll down to Emergency SOS.

Once you're in the Emergency SOS section, it will provide you with options: If you want to be able to quickly and automatically contact 911, switch on the AutoCall function. When the Emergency SOS is toggled, you just rapidly click your sleep/wake button 5 times and 911 is called. There's also the option to turn on the Countdown Sound (3 alarms, 3 seconds before the call is made) which helps users from accidentally activating the function.

There’s also a section to fill in Emergency Contact Information. This can come in handy if you're in an accident. You can add what surgery you have had, any allergies, blood type, etc.

4. Stay aware. I enjoy music when I walk (especially mall walking because elevator versions of music from my teenage years makes me feel sad and old) just keep it low or in one ear and never use headphones in unfamiliar areas.

5. Take a self-defense class. Remember the movie "Miss Congeniality" those S-I-N-G letters Sandra Bullock's character shared are indeed the 4 vulnerable areas on an attacker: solar plexus, instep, nose, groin. I have one of these dudes in my garage and give him the beat down a few times a week. I feel more prepared.

A big dog is a deterrent too. Consider adopting one. My kitties voted a big no on this one.

Hopefully, these are tips that you will NEVER have to use but it's important to think about. If you have more resources, tips or ideas for staying safe please leave them in the comments.

Stay safe my friends xo