Last updated: August 18. 2014 11:22AM - 569 Views
By Kathy Hansen

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A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend and my favorite umpire in the Church Softball League was mugged while doing her exercise routine.

She was walking with headphones and did not hear the assailants come up until it was too late. I am happy to report that she is on the mend and the individuals who attacked her were identified.

I will be the first to admit that I have never been very safety-conscious about life in general. Much to my mother’s chagrin, I Walmart shop alone after dark, go running in strange neighborhoods and occasionally go on a date with a guy I met online. So to make Mama happy, I vow to at least make safety first when it comes to my exercising.

Whether biking, running or just plain walking, you can never be too safe. Statistics show that 43 percent of all robberies occur on roads and streets. In order to keep your workout crime-free, follow these safety tips:

— “Go” phone: It is vital to keep your phone on you, charged and ready to go in case of emergency. There are tons of straps and carriers available for keeping your phone while exercising.

— No bling: A big target for robbery is jewelry. Leave your diamond rings, necklaces, etc. at home to be less attractive as a target.

— Use the buddy system: There is safety in numbers so exercising with a buddy or a group of friends can help thwart would-be trouble makers. It also makes exercising more enjoyable.

— Know your route: If you plan out your route, you can avoid sketchy areas and houses with dogs and other hazards. You can even keep the map on your cell phone in case you get turned around.

— Give family or friends a heads up: It is a good idea to let someone know where you are going to exercise and when you plan to be back. That way if you get injured, sick or in a jam, they know to come looking.

— Vary routes: You need to have a few routes mapped out and vary them so you are not predictable to someone who may be watching you.

— Dogs are your best friend: If you own a large dog, take him on your workout. Dogs are a great deterrent to crime and the exercise is good for them as well.

— Keep moving: If someone does start to look like they are up to no good, kick it into high gear. Chances are they are not fit enough to keep up.

While it is great to be “in the zone” during your outdoor workout, it is important to be aware of your surroundings. Know where you are, who is around you and where you are going. Chances are, if you follow these tips you will make it home safe and sound.

Kathy Hansen has over 25 years of experience in the health and fitness field and a new appreciation for safety. She can be reached via e-mail at hansen02@srmc.org.

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