Winter is synonymous with time spent inside, in front of a fireplace or a heater. For those who aren’t hibernating and are still maintaining their fitness regime, there is an added concern of safety when exercising outdoors.
The colder weather means more people prefer to stay indoors, leaving popular exercise spots emptier than usual.
“Aside from fewer people outside, it gets dark much earlier, which calls for more vigilance and suitable preparation,” says Charnel Hattingh, Fidelity ADT’s National Marketing and Communications Manager.
“Working individuals have to make the most out of their limited time before and after work, but there are precautions fitness enthusiasts should consider to maximise their safety,” she adds.
Hattingh recommends that if you’re arriving home when it’s dark, there are options to time your lights (through home automation) that guarantee your property will be well-lit on your arrival.
“Remember to be cautious as criminals tend to study their potential target’s routines before striking.”
Hattingh recommends the following tips to consider before heading out for your next training session:
- Try to train in pairs or join a club for your respective sport, whether you’re into running, cycling or “park runs”.
- Alternatively, if you’re unable to join a group or find an exercise partner, include your dog (should the weather allow).
- Wear bright clothing, especially during winter when the sky tends to look bleak.
- Keep your devices out of sight. While it is crucial to have a fully charged phone, in case of an emergency, your exercise gear should incorporate discrete pockets to store any essential items.
- It is important to stay alert and it would be best not to exercise with any noise cancelling devices like headphones. You should be able to hear warning sounds like a car’s hooter or someone suddenly approaching from behind.
- Plan ahead and avoid dark alleys and back roads. Remember to vary your course and map out multiple options, to circumvent criminals from tracking your usual practice route.
“Let a loved one know where and when you’ll be exercising. This allows them to check up on you should you be gone for too long. It is also essential to carry identification and ensure your emergency contact’s information is easily accessible, “suggests Hattingh.
“It’s also a good idea to look into using mobile tracking options during training sessions. Equipping yourself and being aware of all your safety options is empowering for fitness experts and novices alike,” recommends Hattingh.
Whether you are training for a marathon, triathlon or simply maintaining your health, you shouldn’t have to abandon your training during winter because of safety concerns, explains Hattingh.
“Many individuals prefer training outdoors over the gym. Careful planning and preparation will help ensure that nothing prevents you from achieving your fitness goals, not even the season.”