I love to run and exercise outside and I encourage my clients to get out into the fresh air as much as they can. It is great not only for their health but also their mind and well-being. Taking some time to go outside and clear your head can be the best thing after a stressful day at work but with daylight savings sadly leaving us (on the east coast) and it getting darker earlier, it is important to stay safe while out and about.

Safety begins with a state of mind and it needs to start before you even head outside by being mindful to not put yourself in unsafe situations. After reports of people being assaulted while running came out in the media recently, here are my top five tips for staying safe while exercising.

Avoid exercising with music playing.

I love to run with music playing to help find rhythm and stay on pace, but there are some situations where it just isn’t safe. If you are alone at night your ears need to be on, to let you know what is in front of and behind you while your vision may be impaired by darkness. Also I wouldn’t have music playing if you are on the road, as you need to be aware if a car is coming your way.

Be visible.

No matter what time of the day, exercising in a secluded place could put you in harm’s way. You need to make sure you are visible and around other people so that if you ever needed it, someone could help. Working out somewhere you know lots of people will be, like the local park, near some houses or a school oval is best. Also, if anything was to go wrong, don’t be afraid to make noise and let people know that you need help. Be familiar with your location. Choosing a location to exercise or track to run is really important in keeping yourself safe. You need to ensure that you can get out of wherever you are fairly quickly should anything go wrong and not be stuck. If you feel like you are stuck, get out of there and find a more open space. Be aware of people who enter your space and who are behaving unnaturally. It may sound presumptive but you need to be aware of other people who come into your workout area. You also need to be alert and trust your gut if you think someone isn’t behaving normally. Instincts don’t lie and if you feel unsafe because of someone, trust yourself and move.

Tell someone what time to expect you home and where you are going.

This is one of the simplest things you can do in order to keep safe, but most people actually forget to do it. Let someone know that you are heading off to the park or around the block and will be back in 30 minutes or an hour. Someone is more likely to go out and look for you if you are late and they were expecting you home at a certain time. Along with ensuring you have your phone on you s’ with some battery life left s’ these small steps could save you in the long run. Also, looking into taking a short self-defence course never hurts, just to make sure you are ready for any situation. All in all, get out there, but be safe!

Words from time spent with Pop Sugar AU

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change to their lives. Sam Wood has over 20 years experience as a personal trainer and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators in the health & fitness industry. Sam is the founder and personal trainer of 28, Australia’s #1 home fitness and nutrition program, and he's also the proud owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed, based in Brighton, Melbourne.