Running is a great way to get exercise. It doesn’t require any special equipment, but you’re still able to burn calories, build muscle, and give your heart a great workout. You can start by jogging a short distance or train for a marathon, and you can easily jog in your neighborhood without having to go anywhere special. It is the most accessible exercise, no matter what your ability, how much money you have, or how much time you have!

However, no exercise comes without at least a few risks. Whether you want to start jogging first thing in the morning or you have to jog at night in order to squeeze a little exercise into your schedule, these tips will help make sure that you stay safe on the road, on the trail, and everywhere in between.

1. Avoid Others on the Trail, Which Includes Dogs

It’s easy to get into a trance when you’re running. If you’re new to jogging, you may simply find yourself distracted as you’re getting used to what your body feels like when you elevate your heart rate. No matter why you aren’t paying close attention, it can result in a serious accident if it means running into or veering away from others on the trail at the last minute.

Not only do you need to be aware so you can avoid other people on the trail, you need to avoid animals too. A whopping 4.5 million dog bites occur each year. The last thing you want to do is end up startling a dog that is walking on the trail and end up going home with an injury.

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2. Choose Your Route Wisely

There are a lot of great jogging paths out there. That doesn’t mean you’re ready to tackle any and every route.

It’s important to choose a path that matches your ability level. If you’re a new runner, you shouldn’t be choosing difficult uphill trails. You should also avoid secluded trails unless you are running with others. Running on a sidewalk is always better than running on the road, and you may want to choose paved paths over gravel if you struggle with your balance.

3. Make Sure You’re Visible

It is extremely important to make sure you’re visible when you’re running. It can ensure you avoid other walkers and runners on the trail, but it is especially important if you’re jogging on or near the road.

A few safety tips for daytime running include:

  • Face oncoming traffic when jogging
  • Wear brightly colored clothing
  • Jog in open spaces where you are easily seen

It is especially important to make sure you’re visible if you plan on running at night. That includes wearing reflective clothing, but it may also mean wearing a headlamp. Not only can it light the way ahead of you as you’re jogging, it is also the best way to get the attention of drivers and others on the trail.

4. Know What to Put in Your Pocket

The last thing you want to do is go out for a jog with a pocket full of stuff that is uncomfortable and weighs you down, but that doesn’t mean you should leave everything in your car. There are some things you should always have in your pocket.

Make sure you always have your ID in your pocket, keep your cell phone with you in case of an emergency, and make sure you have a safe place to put your car and/or house key.

You should also carry a personal safety alarm. That way, if you find yourself being followed or attacked, you can quickly and easily push the button to get help from others in the area.

5. Make Sure Someone Knows Your Exercise Schedule

Jogging with others can be a lot of fun, but for many, it’s a solitary activity. There’s nothing wrong with jogging alone as long as someone knows your exercise schedule.

Make sure a friend or family member knows your regular exercise schedule. If you are going to try a new trail, make sure you tell someone where you’re going and how long you expect to be there. That way, if you don’t return home when you’re expected, friends and family will know where to start looking for you.

Running is a great way to get exercise and take care of your health, but that doesn’t mean it is completely safe. Make sure your new commitment to fitness is safe by following the tips on this list.

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