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Safety Tips For Exercising Alone

How to Be Safe When Exercising Solo

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.

Image Source: Thinkstock
Linds1411 Linds1411 6 years
My issue with carrying things with me is where to put them! If it's chillier out, I wear a sweatshirt, but then everything (phone) is falling out of the pocket. I have no exercise clothes with pockets, but I can't imagine running with my phone in my pocket? That seems odd. Perhaps I should invest in a fanny pack? :)
UFLauren UFLauren 6 years
I've been running since I was 11 (so 16 years now!!) and I have had seveal run-ins with 'creepers'. Two years ago when I was visiting home for the holidays, I went running around dusk. A man approached me and began to follow me. Luckilly, I had my phone and I called my Dad. He raced over and scared the guy off. I never leave my phone behind when I run!
dreamalittledream dreamalittledream 6 years
Outstripped, I was just going to mention pepper spray! I always have it with me!!
outstripped outstripped 6 years
As an avid trail runner, I would recommend carrying pepper spray with you at all times -- I have run into bears, foxes, coyotes ... you name it. I have never run into creepy people, usually only nature-y people hike where I run, but I'm sure if there was someone lurking, my pepper spray would protect me from them as well!
Jenny-Sugar Jenny-Sugar 6 years
nextjen - good point about only running solo in broad daylight!
nextjen nextjen 6 years
I have the fifth generation iPod nano which doesn't need headphones. It's small enough to clip onto my bra, so I can have music without the headphones. I think this is safer for the road, and I only run alone in broad daylight (or in fog!).
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