Taking your workout outside can be great, and many women love to exercise outdoors. We know we need to wear the right workout gear to protect our bodies, sunscreen to protect our skin, but for women, there are some other safety concerns that come with working out outside. Women can be targets for violence, so it’s important to know to stay safe before, during, and after your workout.
Put on workout clothes that fit you well, and make sure you don’t have anything loose, like a hood, or a jumper tied around your waist, that someone could use to grab you. If you have long hair, consider tucking it under a baseball cap, or styling it into a tight side braid, rather than putting it into a ponytail. Both of these options and not having loose clothing on will help to reduce the risk of someone being able to grab you.
Find a friend who wants to exercise with you, who has similar fitness goals. Going out together to work is a great way to stay safe while working out outdoors as two people are much less likely to be targeted than a woman alone, and it can also be a good way to stay motivated to exercise. It’s much harder to decide to skip your workout when you know you have someone relying on you to keep them company. If you haven’t got a friend who wants to train with you, take your dog with you if you have one. A dog also puts off would-be attackers, as the dog could bite, or bark to raise the alarm. If you don’t have a dog, ask a friend if you can borrow their dog to take out with you. They might be happy to get a break from walking the dog themselves.
If you’re going to be outside alone, choose your route carefully ahead of time, and work out roughly how long it will take you to get back home. Plan your route so you will always be somewhere that is busy and well-lit. Avoid quiet or dark areas. Text or call someone before you head out and let them know your route, when you’re heading out for your workout, and when you expect to be back. If you don’t let them know you’re safely home, they can try to call you, and then raise the alarm if you don’t answer. If something does happen, having someone know roughly where you were supposed to be could get help to you much sooner.
Mix up your routine. Don’t always run at the same time on the same day, or on the same routes. Someone could take note of your routine and use that to follow you. If you need to keep to the same time, thanks to other demands on your time, at least change up your route.
Keep your ears free. If you prefer to exercise with music, make sure you can still hear what is going on around you. Either don’t wear headphones and use an external speaker instead, or if you must wear headphones, keep the volume turned down low, or leave one headphone out. Make sure you can hear anyone approaching you from behind.
Always exercise in well-lit, well-populated areas. If you run on wider trails, stick to the middle of the path, away from trees or shrubs, which could be used as a hiding place.
Make sure you have your phone with you. You might be grateful for it, even if you just trip and hurt yourself and nothing more sinister. Remember, if you do fall due to a poorly maintained running surface, a personal injury law firm may be able to help you claim some compensation and stop others from being injured in the same way.
Add some push-ups to your exercise routine if you’re currently just a runner. Runners often neglect their upper body strength, which can be very important for being able to fight off an attacker. Add some sprint intervals to the end of your workout too, so you can burn calories and body fat, and learn to be able to run quickly away from an attacker, even when you’re tired after a workout.
Whether you’re someone who enjoys running on local trails or doing your workout at the outdoor gym at the park, you should definitely take these safety tips into consideration. It isn’t nice to think about, but women can be at risk when exercising outside.