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Exercising safely

Safety Tips for Your Next Outdoor Workout Session

– Article written and submitted by Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com

Exercising outdoors is a great feeling. The fresh air feels cleaner, nature is motivating, and sometimes just being outside can make you want to move and bounce around. Being outside also means losing control over the elements, as there are more risks and dangers in the outdoors. Here are some worst-case scenarios that could happen during an outdoor workout and what you can do to avoid them.

 

GETTING LOST

Exercising on the same route every day can get boring, so some people like to change course for a variety of scenery. Anytime you’re venturing into unknown territory, make good use of a compass and your phone. A phone alone might help you get home if you’re in an area with good signal, but a compass is a safe backup that won’t lose a signal or battery power. Offline apps are great tools too. If you’re in a wooded area outdoors, keep track of the direction you’ve been going in so you can find your way back.

 

ANIMALS

If you encounter a wild animal or dangerous creature, do not disturb their habitat or interact with them. Go the other way or let them pass before continuing on your journey. Keeping a safe distance is beneficial to you and the animal. It might even help to start observing the natural wildlife in your area to learn more about different animals before you accidentally encounter one during an excursion. It also doesn’t hurt to carry bear spray in case you have a close-up encounter and need extra protection. .  For those who exercise outdoors in Australia, bear in mind Magpie season and, if near natural bushland stay on established tracks to avoid snakes.

 

INJURY

Let’s say you’re on a morning run and you roll your ankle a kilometer into your route. How are you supposed to get back home without the use of your feet? You can never predict when these things will happen, but you can always be prepared by keeping a bandage wrap in your running pouch. Always have your phone on you in case you need to call for help and a ride home

 

ACIDITY

Acidity is a risk if you’re exercising heavily through high-intensity workouts. Sports and exercise produce lactic acid, and too much buildup can cause muscle soreness. When you’re away from the house, this scenario can be as problematic as a foot injury. To avoid lactic acid buildup and to keep your body functioning well, maintain a healthy pH by drinking purified water and eating an alkaline diet.

 

OVERHEATING

Drink lots of water before you begin your exercise…at least a half liter 30 minutes before you work out. As you sweat out the water you just drank, it’s necessary to rehydrate. Bring a large water bottle or a hydration pack with you so you never get dehydrated. This is especially important on hotter days when your body is at risk of overheating. Always check the weather report for the heat index, and avoid exercising in the afternoon on hot days. Early mornings or evenings are the best times to exercise outside during the summer.  Rather than consuming ‘sports’ drinks, add a little Himalayan Rock Salt to your water bottle to help replace electrolytes lost during sweating.

 

INCLEMENT WEATHER

Heat isn’t the only weather hazard to be concerned about. Cold or freezing temperatures could lead to hypothermia, so wear warm socks, gloves, a hat, and insulated layers of clothing. Rain or snow could also hit while you’re out exercising. When the drops start to fall, get home quickly to change into dry clothes. If it’s a heavy rainfall season, then check the weather forecast so you can exercise during the driest hours. It also doesn’t hurt to bring a rain poncho just in case.

Good shoes can help on rainy days. Waterproof sneakers or boots with excellent traction will keep you safer on slippery roads and muddy terrain. You could also opt to exercise closer to home by running laps around the neighborhood or doing a circuit/HIIT workout in your yard. Doing this allows you to enjoy the outdoors without being too far from shelter.

When exercising outdoors, ensure proper sun-safety:  wear a hat to shade your face, wear sun-protective clothing if outdoors during the warmer part of the day, try and exercise in the shade.

The great outdoors is calling, but there’s no need to be fearful of risky situations. Be prepared and know your surroundings. You’ll be grateful for the time spent outside and refreshed from the workout session.

Photo Credit: Pixabay