Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful and fun-filled Thanksgiving!

What are you thankful for?

Get Up and Move Challenge Day 25: Exercising Safety

With all this talk about turkey, I'm sure the last thing on your mind is getting out and exercising today. Don't forget though, if you're taking part in the Get Up and Move Challenge, today counts too!

One of the things that's not talked much about happens to be one of the more important -- exercising safely. I'm not referring to stopping if you have chest pain or other medically related issues (although that is important as well). I'm referring to exercising safely outside.

There are three huge safety pet peeves I see often with people exercising in the great outdoors. More specifically, around busy streets and neighborhoods.

(1) Wearing an MP3 player with headphones. While not in and of itself a bad idea, many people tend to crank the volume up really loud. This can be a problem in high traffic areas, either vehicular or pedestrian. If you are walking or running down the side of a street, you need to be able to hear if there is a car or other automobile approaching. Same thing in pedestrian traffic. Many times runners or bikers will use "passing on the left" or "passing right" when they are about to go around you. If you are unable to hear this, you can easily step in their path and cause injuries to both parties. Even if they don't call out before passing, once again you still want to be able to hear if someone is around you. This doesn't mean you can't wear headphones while out and about, just keep the volume turned down.

(2) Exercising late in the day, in dark clothing without reflective gear. How many times have you been driving home from work in the winter months and had to do a double take because you didn't see a pedestrian out walking? If you are going to be out during very early hours, or dusk and later, make sure you wear at least one item of light colored clothing and more importantly, some piece of equipment or clothing that has reflective tape on it. Many drivers are busy focusing on the road (or worse, texting or talking on their phone) and are not looking for pedestrians. Make it easy for them to see you.

(3) Walking/Running on the wrong side of the road. This happens a lot, and more often than not it's because people don't know which side is the correct one. If sidewalks are available, this isn't a big concern. However, when there are no sidewalks present, it is very important you walk/run on the correct side of the street. Which side that? You always want to walk/run facing traffic. This typically means (in the US) the left side of the street. Going against traffic allows you to be aware of oncoming traffic, and to get out the way if there is a distracted driver. You can't see how close to you the approaching car is if it's coming up behind you, and this can be very dangerous.

What are some safety concerns you've seen while outside?

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