Roadway exercise safety

Simple safety tips when exercising on the roads.

The temperature is rising and people are starting to stir out of their winter hibernation. As you drive down the road, you may notice more people engaging in physical activity by walking, running or biking on the side of the road. Although this is one of the cheapest ways to be physically active, it can also be a dangerous. In 2015, almost 129,000 pedestrians in the U.S. were injured and around 5,300 were killed while running or walking on the roads, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Michigan State University Extension advises you to know the proper rules and safety procedures to keep you safe while being active outside.

Be aware of your surroundings

This seems easy right? Well, check and see if you do it right:

  • Do not wear headphones while running. With headphones on, you are not as aware of your surroundings as you think. You might not hear sirens, cars approaching, dogs barking or any other noise that will alert you and make you aware of any dangers.
  • Look both ways before crossing, and run/walk against traffic (facing on-coming traffic).
Be prepared and plan ahead

Before heading out on the roads:   

  • Carry identification or write your information (name, phone number and blood type) on the sole of your shoe.
  • When possible carry your phone or bring change for a pay phone.
  • Leave a note at home with your route to allow others to know where to find you.
  • Make sure your routes are in areas that you are familiar with. If you are out at night, pick a route with street lights.

A few other tricks to think about is to wear bright colors or reflective gear, especially when being active at night. One of the greatest tricks is to walk or run with a partner or a dog, not only does this increase your safety, but it also increases the fun you can have while getting your physical activity.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture adults (ages 18-64) should be getting two hours and 30 minutes of physical activity a week. That might sound like a lot, but it is only about 22 minutes of physical activity a day. While you are waiting for your child to be done with school or waiting for your laundry to dry, take a quick walk around the block or down the street to reach those 22 minutes a day. For more health and nutrition tips, visit the MSU Extension website.

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