By Adrian Sparrow
NeuLine Health

Jogging is a cheap way to get some exercise into your weekly routine- the only equipment you need are running shoes. As with any outdoor activity, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and protect yourself. Here are several tips to stay safe while you get your steps in. 

Appropriate Clothing
Wear sneakers that fit well and support your foot with a shock-absorbing sole. Socks should wick away sweat- look for wool or synthetic materials like polyester-  so that you don’t get blisters while running in wet socks. Dress for the weather! Bring extra water and wear light-colored clothing if it’s hot. In cold weather, wear layers of sweat-wicking fabric along with a hat and gloves. Always carry your ID, a phone, and a whistle in case of emergency. 

Stretch before going on a run. Target your leg and abdominal muscles. Hydrate before and after your jog. Increase speed and distance over time as your physical limits improve. 

Don’t Go Solo
Runners in pairs and groups are less likely to be targeted or harassed. Run in parks or on trails that have other runners or bikers. Keep your phone on you when you run and share your location with a trusted friend or partner.  Recruit a friend to run with you, or join a local running group to build yourself a safe community.

Running Route
Run in areas you know, whether in your neighborhood or a local park. Change your running route every so often to prevent others from keeping track of your schedule. Look for well-lit paths and open spaces away from bushes and alcoves where others could hide. Bring reflective gear or a runner’s light and wear light-colored clothing if you run at night.

Be wary of cars while you run. Always run on the side of the road facing traffic, especially on roads without a shoulder. Obey all traffic rules and signs. Always yield to cars at intersections- don’t assume they’ll stop for you. 

Risk Aversion
There’s always a possibility of danger when you run alone. Bring your dogs with you and run together. Consider training to use pepper spray or a knife. Don’t carry a weapon you don’t know how to use- an attacker could turn it against you. Practice using your weapon or self-defense techniques before you need them. If you are attacked, scream, curse, use your whistle, and do anything you can to surprise the attacker and make them change course.