Runners and Walkers

Individuals within our communities who are concerned about fitness goals should also be concerned about potential problems associated with meeting those specific goals. The use of fitness trails, surface streets, and parks by individuals and families for exercise or personal recreation also expose those individuals to potential criminal acts. It is important to exercise care when out using public facilities. Following the suggestions below can help minimize your risk of exposure to potential threats.
  • Plan your route and let other family members or friends know where you're going and how long you expect to be gone.
  • There's safety in numbers, so run or walk with a partner, if possible. If you have a dog, consider taking it along with you. It could discourage a possible attacker. Besides, it will be good exercise for your dog, too.
  • Don't wear jewelry or carry cash.
  • Don't concentrate so much on your exercise that you lose your awareness of things going on around you. Just like any other time you are out and about on the street, not paying attention to your surroundings makes you more vulnerable to attack.
  • Don't wear headphones. Wearing them can cause you to not be able to hear an approaching car or attacker.
  • Stay clear of places where an attacker could conceal himself such as parked cars or bushes.
  • Vary your route to avoid predictability.
  • Carry a cellular phone if you have one. If someone is going to be at home and your route doesn't get too far from home, consider a pair of small, family two-way radios to keep in communication with your house.
  • Run against traffic so you can see approaching vehicles.
  • If you are suspicious or concerned about a person or area, trust your feelings and avoid them. If you fear you're being followed, change direction and head for open businesses or lighted houses.
  • Keep at least an arm's length away from vehicles that ask you for directions. 
  • Avoid areas that are unpopulated, are overgrown, or are poorly lighted at night. 
  • Consider carrying pepper spray for selfdefense and a whistle to attract attention if attacked.
  • Exercise during the daylight hours. If you cannot exercise during the day, try to find a well-lighted
  • outdoor track where others exercise or an indoor track or treadmill. If you walk for exercise, consider laps around an indoor shopping mall. Many malls open doors early for this purpose.
  • If you exercise outdoors at night, make sure people can see you by wearing reflective materials. Although many athletic shoes include reflective materials in their construction, consider wearing a reflective vest.
  • If exercising while away from home and staying at a hotel, check with hotel staff for safe routes for exercise. Leave you room key with the front desk.