Summer will soon be over, and the days have already started getting shorter–it’s getting darker earlier each day. In order to keep up with their workout routines, many people may find themselves exercising outside before or after work when it is dark outside. Although it’s great to fit in fitness whenever possible, it is important to keep safety in mind when walking, running or biking in the dark. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe while working out during the darker hours:
- Wear the right gear – In order to make sure you are visible to drivers sharing the road, it’s critical to wear bright colors and reflective clothing and gear. Adding glow-in the-dark stickers to your hat and shoes, a reflective vest or belt, or even a headlamp or other flashing light can all make a huge difference in helping others on the road know you are there.
- Pick the right path – To help minimize the risk of traffic and unfamiliar terrain, pick a well-lit route that you’ve tried before. Even better, try to find an outdoor track or trail that is lit and populated in the early morning and evening hours.
- Go with the flow – It’s important to move in the right direction depending on which type of activity you are doing. If running or walking, go against traffic so you can see oncoming traffic more easily, and vice versa. If biking, move with traffic since you are moving more quickly.
- Leave the music at home – If you are listening to music, chances are you won’t be able to hear traffic coming. Combined with reduced vision in the dark, this can be a recipe for disaster. While it’s recommended to carry a cell phone (and ID) with you in case of an emergency, leave the headphones at home to help make sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Find a friend – While making plans to exercise with a friend can hold you accountable and help ensure you follow through, it’s also a great safety precaution. Together, you will be better able to navigate darkened routes and, if something does happen while you’re out, you will be able to help each other.
Exercising is always a great choice to help maintain or improve health and fitness, but it’s important to take steps to do it safely, especially when working out in the dark.
For Health Advocate members
If you are a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching component of our Wellness Program, talk to your coach about how to safely incorporate more exercise into your routine, no matter what time of day.