Running is a great exercise that nearly anyone can do. Running offers numerous health benefits, serving as a powerful cardiovascular exercise that enhances heart and lung function, promoting a robust circulatory system. Additionally, regular running is associated with improved mental well-being, reducing stress and anxiety while fostering a positive impact on mood through the release of endorphins, often referred to as the “runner’s high.”
However, you need to make sure that you stay safe whenever you go for a run. Part of this is to avoid physical injury, but you also need to be aware of your surroundings and those around you when you run. Studies have shown that the majority of women have been assaulted or harassed when they run, so safety is definitely an issue.
With that being said, here are some essential safety tips to remember the next time you go for a run. We also have a post with tips on how to make running easier. You will have an easier time making the most of your running experience if you know how to stay safe and what precautions you will need to take.
Buy The Proper Footwear
Before you start running, make sure that you have a good pair of shoes that fit well and have thick shock-absorbing soles that provide good support. Find some shoes that are designed with running in mind for the best results. You should read this article on whether flat shoes are good for your feet.
Avoid wearing socks that are 100 percent cotton. Cotton socks stay wet when they get wet, which can lead to blisters in the summer and dangerously cold feet in the winter. Stick to athletic socks made from wool or a synthetic material such as acrylic or polyester.
Make Sure You’re Healthy Enough to Run
If you’re just getting into running after a period of inactivity, schedule a physical with your primary doctor to make sure that you’re healthy enough to run regularly. When you actually start running, stick to shorter distances and a slower pace; never push yourself harder than you think you can handle. If you get hurt or feel any pain when you run, stop running and don’t start again until you get yourself checked out by your doctor.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
If you’re going to run outdoors, do so during daylight hours. Stick to well-trodden paths or sidewalks if you can. If you have to run on a road, stick to the shoulder and run facing oncoming cars. Runners, like all pedestrians are vulnerable to fast moving cars so be sure to make yourself visible. Pedestrian deaths have been on the rise throughout the country, Spokane, Washington alone saw 127 pedestrian accidents resulting in 8 deaths in 2021.
Run With Other People
If you can find someone to run with you, do so. Assaults do happen, but they’re far less likely when you’re running with a friend or a group.
Know What to Carry with You
Whenever you go out, always carry a form of identification and a cell phone with you. It’s also a good idea to carry a whistle or pepper spray just to be safe. If you’re going to carry pepper spray, make sure you know how to use it. The last thing you want is to fumble with your pepper spray when you’re being assaulted. Make sure that you have plenty of water with you if you run in hot weather, and dress in extra layers of moisture-wicking clothing if it’s cold outside.