Walking: A safe and easy exercise, but don't take your safety for granted

Walking

 

Walking is the most common form of exercise recommended to keep you fit. Walking outside offers you fresh air and a workout at the same time! However you need to be cautious. Paying attention to the “rules of the road,” can prevent a tragedy. Before you lace up those sneakers, review the following safety tips:

 

Stretch:
Stretching will add flexibility and may make your walking more comfortable. Start at the top of your body and work your way down. For information on stretching for walking go to: www.thewalkingsite.com/stretching.html

Bring a buddy:
Walk with your dog or a friend. This can be a great motivator, makes the time more enjoyable and there is safety in numbers. If you do have to walk alone, tell someone your route and the time you expect to return.

Wear reflective gear:
Dress to be seen. If you will be out during the early morning or evening, wear light colored clothing or reflectors. Reflective gear will make you more visible to oncoming traffic.

Face the traffic:
Obey the “rules of the road” and walk against the traffic. If your walk routes do not have sidewalks and you are walking on the road, always walk in the direction facing oncoming traffic.

    Be aware of your surroundings:
Watch for ice, water, bike riders, cracks in the pavement, or any other hazards in your path. It can be very easy to trip and fall without warning, and can be especially dangerous if you are walking alone.

Don’t assume that drivers know when pedestrians have the "right of way." Be cautious of driveways, and crossing streets.

Bring it:
It is a good idea to bring a cell phone or a whistle in case you get into trouble. Always have a form of I.D. with you in case of an emergency. Grab water and a salty snack to keep you hydrated and energized.

Leave it:
Always be aware of what is happening around you. Don’t wear headphones- they can prevent you from hearing oncoming traffic or someone coming up behind you. Leave your jewelry at home. It can draw unwanted attention. Use cell phone for emergencies only. No texting while walking please. You need to watch where you’re walking.

For more information on walking safely visit the UMass Wellness website: www.umass.edu/wellness

 

 Before starting you exercise program check with your doctor for any medical restrictions or concerns that you need considered.