THE warmer weather means many of us will be heading outdoors to train and shake off those excess winter kilos.
Whether you are doing it purely for personal health reasons, or if you are setting your sights on that next marathon or parkrun, it is important to make personal safety part of your training regime.
“Staying safe while exercising outdoors is easy. We hope that by following this step-by-step guide you will be able to focus all your attention on your training,” says Fidelity ADT’s national Marketing and Communications Manager, Charnel Hattingh.
• CARRY SOME ID
Carry some form of identification on you so that any bystanders will know who you are and who to contact in case of an emergency. Most exercise gear has small pockets for this very reason.
• SAFETY IN NUMBERS
Hattingh strongly discourages running or cycling alone. Rather join a group of people who can look out for your safety and also offer encouragement along the way when muscle pain or cramps set in.
• TELL SOMEONE
Another good idea is to ensure someone you trust knows that you are headed out for a run or cycle, has an idea of the route you plan to take, and when you expect you will return. In this way they can quickly raise the alarm if you do not return as planned.
• BE VISIBLE
Wear reflective clothing to make sure you are visible to other road users.
Run against traffic and cycle with traffic. This makes you even more visible to others. If you can, make use of pavements or any designated cycle tracks.
• VARY YOUR ROUTINE
Changing up your route and training time makes it difficult for any would-be criminal to anticipate your movements. The change in scenery can also make the physical exertion more bearable.
• CHARGE YOUR PHONE BATTERY
Make sure your cell phone battery is fully charged so that you are able to call for help in case of an emergency.
It is also important to save the correct emergency contact numbers on your phone, so that you can quickly contact the police, your security company, or your neighbourhood watch when you need them.
• MOBILE TRACKING
Find out from your security company if they offer a mobile tracking app which can be downloaded on your cell phone. This is an effective way of alerting emergency service providers when you need them while also giving them your accurate location, especially if you are running or hiking along a mountain path or in a forest.