It’s officially March, which means Spring, which means warm weather (although I guess it depends on where you live). Either way, we’re all looking forward to the sight of lush, green trees and temperatures above 50 degrees (if you live in the Northeast). Warmer weather also means going outside and being active. One of these outdoor activities that you will see a lot of is jogging.
Recently, a study from the American College of Cardiology reported that light jogging, from 1 to 2.4 hours a week, lowers a person’s mortality rate. When they tracked 1,098 healthy active joggers and 413 healthy non-joggers for 12 years, they found that people who were strenuous or fast joggers had just as high of a mortality risk as people who didn’t jog. In order for the benefits of jogging to be effective, it depended on how many times a week the person did it, the duration of the jog, and the pace at which they jogged.
Whether debating on the pros and cons of jogging, one major thing that’s important to keep in mind is safety. Following these tips will not only keep you aware and healthy, but they will enhance your jogging activities in a positive manner.
1. Have a jogging partner, especially if you plan to jog at night. Unfortunately, we have often heard stories about women being attacked/sexually assaulted while they were out jogging or running by themselves at night. You and your jogging partner will look out for one another. However, if you usually go solo, have someone close to you know where you’ll be jogging and for how long.
2. Wear bright colors with reflectors so that drivers and fellow pedestrians can see you. This brings me to my next point…
3. Do not jog/run in the street. Stay on the sidewalk — or, if you are in the park, stay on the path. I know this sounds silly, but the last thing you want to do is assume that drivers will slow down. Before crossing the street, make eye contact with the driver so that they are aware of you. Also, when jogging or running, face the direction that traffic is coming toward you.
4. Change up your routine. Switch where you jog every other day or week, depending on how often you do so. Going the same route every time makes it easier for people to track you, which can lead to unpleasant situations. Be sure to jog near public areas where there are a lot of people present and where there is adequate lighting. If you’re in a park, be careful about going past bushes or being in heavily wooded areas. When choosing alternative routes, go with ones that you are familiar with. You don’t want to get lost.
5. Don’t listen to music. An article by Women’s Health Magazine says that music can interfere with your ability to fully tune into your surroundings. You know how it is: Your favorite song comes on, the beat overtakes you, and you sing your heart out — or you do so in your head. If you usually listen to music, put in one earbud and have the music on low. That way you can enjoy the tunes but also listen out for fellow joggers, traffic, or someone who may have the audacity to try and sneak up behind you.
6. Besides your house keys, take your car keys as well as your ID and cellphone with you in case of an emergency. Also, take cash in case you have to take transportation.
7. Warmer weather also means higher temperatures. Keep a check on the weather. On very humid or hot days, carry a bottle of water — two if you can — and wear lighter clothing. During colder months, dress in layers with a hat and gloves.
Physical activities such as walking, jogging, or running are important in helping us look and feel our best. At the same time, make sure that feeling your best also includes improving your overall well-being and safety. Enjoy the weather and get your jogging on!