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Have You Skipped Exercise Because You Don't Feel Safe?

Have You Skipped Exercise Because You Don't Feel Safe?

I was recently reading about how one barrier to physical activity may be that people do not consider their own environment safe enough to allow them to walk, cycle or take other forms of outdoor exercise.

I found this bit of information especially timely because I had wanted to run outside last night, but I dragged my feet doing other things, and it got dark, so nixed the jog and popped in a workout DVD. I do feel safe in my neighborhood, but I don't typically like running while it's dark anywhere. Let me clarify that I don't think running at night is a bad idea for everyone because some people run only at night, but for me, I feel safer running when it's light out.

All this got me to thinking about you guys—have you ever skipped exercise because you don't feel safe?


Join The Conversation
ohmbecca ohmbecca 9 years
I live in a gated community and love to walk before sunrise before the sun gets too hot (in Florida) and it's nice and quiet. But every morning the landscapers must have the same idea when the set out to work on the grass, flowers, etc. It makes me very uncomfortable to be the only person walking and seemingly awake when these men are out and driving their little carts around. As much as it pains me, lately I've been driving elsewhere for my walks and even considering joining a gym in addition to my yoga studio. I just can't shake the worry that I'm putting myself in danger.
krazykarot krazykarot 9 years
I never would have ran or biked outside in my last neighborhood. i was in the mission hill/roxbury area of boston and the cat calls alone would make me feel soooo uncomfortable. And it's sad because there are some awesome bike paths not too far away, if only I could have gotten to them.
tulipsaki tulipsaki 9 years
Some of my neighbours are really weird. It's not so much that they are dangerous as they are weird and uncomfortable and they stare for some reason. I'm not sure what's wrong with them (racism is my best guess since I'm South Asian and they are white) but I've ended up skipping going to my condo building gym and instead buying exercise equipment I can use at home instead, like a mini-stepper and a foldaway elliptical strider.
smart-blonde smart-blonde 9 years
I've never let it stop me, but I'm lucky enough to live in a nice area with a huge park with a track and a running trail. There are always tons of joggers everywhere in my neighborhood. Even when I go out to the streets, I don't worry. Honestly, I'm more scared of running when the sidewalks might be icy than in the general "it's dark."
mirawilliams mirawilliams 9 years
I've run early in the morning and at night - night being seven p.m. but I run on the main streets and everyone is still outside. I do the one earphone in one ear, and carry my phone with me. If I can't run, I take my roommate and we go for a 4k walk on the busy streets. No later than eight, though.
Allytta Allytta 9 years
a lot. i don't run at night, when it's dark. but i love cycling... but only in my home small town, not in London, London is scary enough :)
NadiaPotter NadiaPotter 9 years
I do. I don't fell that save in my neighborhood. There's a lot of people of every kind. There's also a lot of (well 3 or 4) places where they sell beer and "Stuff" so, I don't run around my neighborhood. There's alot of good people, but with 2 or 3 of the other kind... you understand. I try and do some exercise in my home, jump a rope, aerobics, etc. But everyone keeps telling me "run around your house" and I was like YEAH... SURE. Sad, but true.
tjzchouse tjzchouse 9 years
It's extremely risky for any woman to run/walk alone after dark, or even during the day in a secluded area, "nice" neighborhood or not. Take a friend or a large dog with you, and please take the headphones out of your ears so that you will be able to hear someone approaching you from behind. We should all take responsibility for our own safety by at least using common sense.
Jivespeaker Jivespeaker 9 years
I LOVE to go running on the trails around Austin, but without a dog, I simply won't go unless I can find a buddy. Buddy or a large dog is a must.
Soniabonya Soniabonya 9 years
A friend and I wanted to go running when we live in Sarospatock Hungary for summer school. We only did it once because we got plenty of strange looks and disapproving glares. Then there were the gypsies that followed us back to the dorms. Scary. We stuck to the gym after that. We learned it was unusual for people to run around the block for exercise. That was about 8 years ago so maybe it changed by now.
longhorn_sugar longhorn_sugar 9 years
i have, but at the end of the day, i tell myself not to feel bad about it. you should never feel bad about your protecting yourself. better safe than sorry!
UrbanBohemian UrbanBohemian 9 years
I don't like skipping workouts, so I'll just adjust my schedule, like get it done earlier in the day, or I'll improvise by working out indoors!
jennybop jennybop 9 years
i live in an apartment complex so it seems sketchy to run alone in a complex. we've had two robberies from people checking their mail at night so the idea of running after work isn't too appealing. I'm waiting till i get some pepperspray before taking off in the mornings, or afternoons. This is the PERFECT season for outdoor running too. :(
rivrchild rivrchild 9 years
I started taking jogs at night between 7-8pm and have been doing it for about 2 weeks. At this time of year if I was to jog in daylight I would have about an hour if that after work to try to squeeze it in, and that's IF I get off work at the proper time. I've found that running in the dark makes me less self-conscious and really frees me up to make the most of my run without feeling like everyone is watching me huff and puff. I take a road that is well-traveled where there are usually lots of other walkers/joggers, about 2-3 mi roundtrip depending on how far I go. I don't listen to my iPod and I always take my cell phone with me and that makes me feel safer. I think once I really get into the habit of running I won't feel self-conscious about it like I used to and I won't mind running in the daytime. But for now, it's the best thing for me and I try to be as safe as possible.
hkmarks hkmarks 9 years
I don't really worry about crime in my neighbourhood. But I rarely ride my bike anymore. Traffic scares me and the roads are lousy. I almost got killed by a truck a few years ago -- I had to intentionally fall off to avoid being crushed -- and since then I've been nervous. I rode to work a few times during the summer. About 50% of the time, something bad happened. One driver apparently didn't realize I was signalling a left turn and almost hit me. There was a collapsed storm drain on the side of the road, which I only barely avoided because of the fast traffic inches from my elbow. When I started riding in the car lane through that section (which is what you're supposed to do on narrow roads) drivers got upset with me. In another bike lane, there was a lump in the asphalt that looked like a speed bump. 20% is bad roads, which are pretty much inevitable here. 10% is poor urban planning -- the roads I'm talking about should have designated bike lanes. Sacrificing a few parking spaces would be well worth it. But 70% of the problem is just ignorant, stupid drivers who pretend bikes aren't even there. I don't like to feel like I'm taking my life in my hands riding barely a mile, not even during rush hour.
freegracefrom freegracefrom 9 years
I had an issue too when I was walking my dog in the middle of the day in my neighborhood. This car kept on following right behind us, speeding off when another car drove by, but then circling back around to follow us again. It took me a while to get over that, but I just carry my cellphone with me now and am looking into getting some mace. I go to the gym, but my friend had her car broken into. So you never know. I agree with nikodarling - you always have to be vigilant. You don't have to stop living, but always be aware of your surroundings and take the proper precautions.
LVC LVC 9 years
I run outside every morning, but it is dark out part of the year since I go at 530 am. There are plenty of other runners out and I make sure I stick only to well travelled and well lit streets. But if I lived in an unsafe neighborhood...I probably would be in a gym.
esk4 esk4 9 years
I live in newark... not exactly the safest place to go for a walk sometimes, especially when its dark by the time I get home from work
nikodarling nikodarling 9 years
I used to have a buddy system where I would try to find someone nearby to go out with. Now I have 2 big dogs so I never feel very scared to run or walk. But I have to say I definitely would not go out after dark by myself. I have had a few really scary encounters over the years that have made me aware of how vulnerable I can be in my own neighbourhood. There is no such thing as a "good" neighbourhood, you always have to be vigilant.
cubadog cubadog 9 years
I had an incident in a neighborhood I used to live in where a man in car pulled up and asked for a BJ. It was the middle of the day since that incident I have become leary of walking in any neighborhood. My current neighborhood is safe and there are always people out running or walking but I just go to the gym.
millarci millarci 9 years
I rarely run outside, but if I do I always run during daylight. Not that my neighborhood is unsafe. But nowadays you just never know. That's another reason I go to a fitness center, because by the time I can excercise it's too dark out to run outside.
dubyah dubyah 9 years
My neighborhood is actually really safe! I went for a run after dark once and someone in a car actually stopped to make sure I was ok! A Girl running in the dark probably looks sketchy in a nice neighborhood!
kellyanne kellyanne 9 years
We moved from a super safe beach community to the valley, and I don't feel very comfortable going out here alone. My husband got me an elliptical machine so that I could work out at home, safely. I am paranoid (a close call) and he's in law enforcement, so we both tend to think in worst case scenarios. Luckily I love my elliptical and it works well for me.
lrgoldman34 lrgoldman34 9 years
when I was in college (and more than a bit delusional with an eating disorder), I would go running at midnight, after studying. Sometimes a friend would go but often I was alone...on a Big 10 campus, pitch black. It was not smart at all. No, in the summer I'll sometimes run even if it's a little dark (like, streetlamps are going on, but I still see the sun setting). But not in the dark. Even if a neighborhood is "safe," things can happen. And now that I think about it, daytime can be just as bad. As a teenager, I was jogging in my safe little suburb at around noon when a man pulled up and exposed himself to me. It was so frightening and startling that I took off through the backyard of some house and raced home. It was broad daylight and still was managed to, in a sense, be attacked. I want a security guard like Madonn'as to follow me around when I workout!
isabelle315 isabelle315 9 years
I don't always feel safe running very early or very late. If I'm not running more than a mile or two, I'll take my german shephard along - he is a big baby, but he looks imposing so I feel a lot safer with him along.
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