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UW Health Sports Medicine Fitness Center staff offer suggestions for helping you stay safe when you exercise.
Whether you are an early morning riser, or prefer to exercise after work, at some point during the year you will likely be exercising in the dark. When you do, it's important to take extra precautions to stay safe whether you're walking, jogging or biking.
Plan your route and let someone know where you are going and how long you plan to be gone.
If windy, consider moving into the wind as you leave your starting location so that the wind is at your back on the return trip.
Be seen – wear reflective clothing/shoes. Dressing in all dark colors does not allow others to see you. You may want to invest in a headlamp as well as a blink light for your back.
Remember to dress in layers. You can always remove clothing.
If you wear contacts you may want to consider protective eyewear – sunglasses will limit your vision in the dark.
Run/walk against the flow of traffic, but bike with traffic.
Have identification easily available – an ID of some sort. There are ID tags and bracelets available.
Take your phone. Some models allow you to set emergency contact information that is accessible even when the phone is locked. Make sure your information is up to date.
Don’t listen to music as this helps to be more aware of your surroundings in the dark.
Change your route frequently. If you live in a neighborhood that is unsafe to exercise after dark (no sidewalks or otherwise unsafe) consider stopping someplace on the way to or from work to exercise in a safer area.
If you have long hair, a ponytail could potentially be something easy for someone to grab from behind you and pull you to the ground – consider putting it up.
Find a buddy to increase your comfort level and safety.