I went trail running yesterday and on my way back, I got a call from my mom. She was furious that I went by myself saying, "Do you know what kind of weirdos hang out in the woods?!" I assured her that I wouldn't have gone if I felt at risk, but I saw her point. There are perks to exercising alone, like time to be in silence and think and the ability to push yourself as hard or as easy as you choose, but it's not always the safest idea. If you prefer exercising outside on your own, here are some ways to keep you protected from danger.
- Always tell someone where and when you're going. I recently saw the movie 127 Hours, and if Aron just mentioned to someone that he was going out hiking alone in a crevice in Utah, he probably could have prevented hours of agony and the loss of his arm.
- Choose a safe location. Now is not the time to explore that new waterfall cliff your friend told you about. Exercise in an area you are familiar with, preferably one that's close to home, which you've visited before. You're more likely to avoid dangerous critters, poisonous vegetation, weird dudes with bad intentions, getting hurt, or getting lost.
- Even though you're solo, don't exercise alone. Choose a populated hiking trail or bike path so that even if you're on your own, help is just a yell away.
- Choose safe forms of exercise. Walking, hiking, running, or biking are usually harmless when you're alone, but if you get into more extreme sports like rock climbing or mountain biking, the risks for getting hurt are greater. Go easy when you're on your own and bring a friend when you want to kick it up a notch.
Keep reading for more life-saving tips.
- Know your limits. You may be used to swimming laps in your gym's pool, but swimming alone across a lake isn't the best time to find out that it just might be too much.
- Wear what you know and love. Heading out for a solo ride is not the time to try out your new clipless shoes. Wear clothes and use gear you're used to to prevent any mishaps.
- Bring your phone, an ID, and some cash. If you end up falling and spraining your ankle, or you're biking and you pop a tire 12 miles from your home, these three things could save your life.
- Ditch the headphones. Being safe means being aware. You want to be able to hear everything, including dogs, wild animals, people, or thunder. If music is a must, get an armband and put your music on speakerphone.
- Listen to that little voice inside your head. If something seems like a bad idea or you get a creepy feeling, trust your instincts and head back home. You won't have a very good workout if you're worried the entire time, and there's a good reason you have a bad feeling, and you shouldn't stick around to find out what that is.
If you have any other tips for exercising on your own, share them below.