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If you would have told me two years ago that I would be writing about walking, I would have laughed until I cried…… But that is exactly what I am doing!
Two years ago I was thrilled to be able to walk through the grocery store, walking for exercise or fun wasn’t on my radar yet. But that isn’t what today’s post is about, click here to find out how I went from barely moving to running circles around my family and friends, today I am going to share to stay safe while walking.
1. Be aware!
This practice covers several areas. The first being preventing personal attacks. Try to walk in daylight hours or on well-lit streets. I recommend carrying mace/pepper spray, a stun gun, or at the very least a rape whistle/alarm.
Know your route and identify possible escape routes by pulling up and studying the area on Google Maps.
Shady people aren’t the only things you need to be on alert for. As I learned two weeks ago, pinecones are evil! Seriously though, watch for debris on your walking path.
While you may not have much of a chance of slipping on a banana peel, your odds of tripping on uneven pavement, rocks, pinecones, bottles, cans, trash, leaves are high.
When walking at night use a flashlight to see hazards before you step on them!
2. Make yourself visible
If you are walking between dusk and dawn, you need to make sure that people are going to see you.
I don’t care how much or little traffic your walking route experiences, all it takes is for one driver not to see you and boom! So do yourself and those that love you a favor and dress in bright neon or white clothing.
Not willing to give up your dark workout clothing? Then wear a reflective vest or arm/ankle bands.
3. Go inside!
When the air quality is less than desirable or if the streets/sidewalks are wet or icy, walk indoors!
You don’t have to join a gym or purchase a treadmill, you can walk your local mall for free!
Other options, although you won’t be able to walk fast, are to visit a local museum, art gallery, or indoor flea market.
If weather conditions make it unsafe to drive, walk in your house! Walk in place on a mini trampoline, in front of your TV, or just walk from room to room. The best part of walking at home is knowing that if you get too tired you can sit down and rest.
4. Make it a group activity
If possible, get yourself a walking buddy! You could get together with a group of friends or neighbors and turn your exercise time into a fitness happy hour!
If you must walk alone, bring your dog. They are great at fending off strangers. Even small neurotic chihuahuas provide protection.
Don’t have a dog? Ask to walk your neighbor’s. Having someone else to be accountable to will get you out the door regularly.
Walking with someone always motivates me to push harder than if no one was watching.
5. Track your steps
If you are like me, you may have a tendency to overromanticize your physical accomplishments if you don’t have proof of what you did staring you in the face.
There have been times when I thought I racked up thousands and thousands of steps, only to later discover that I barely accomplished a small percentage of what I thought I had.
Tracking steps makes you aware of what you are really capable of. When dealing with chronic pain, this knowledge can help you plan future outings. If an event is going to require more walking than you typically do in a day, you will know whether to cancel or bring along a mobility aid.
When you track your steps and chronic pain, you will find a range that will become a warning for you to stop before running yourself into the ground. This will decrease the number of days you spend recovering from pushing yourself too hard.