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running safety

Walking and Running Ideas for City People

Written on November 3, 2011 at 9:30 am , by

Running in Grass

Photo courtesy of SparkPeople

If you reside in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago or San Francisco, you have access to some of the hottest and trendiest health clubs and group exercise classes right in your back yard. And even if you live in an urban part of Dallas, Seattle, Kansas City, Pittsburgh or any other large metropolitan area, you still have a lot of different workout options available. But what if running or walking outdoors is your favorite activity? Well, urban exercisers have to deal with the hustle and bustle of city life, which can put a damper on your exercise experience.

Urban living may give you the freedom to function without a car and easily walk to hip shopping, dining and entertainment destinations, but when you’re trying to actually fit in a workout, navigating the city safely and efficiently can be a bit of a challenge. After all, you’re up against pollution, traffic, possible crime, uneven sidewalks and other treacherous conditions, not to mention all the traffic and intersections that stop you multiple times mid-run.

Here are six ideas for where and when to navigate the urban landscape. Make sure to check out the complete article for bonus tips for when it comes to your safety and city life.

1. Park it. This is an obvious one, but it’s too important to ignore. City parks are made for running and walking!

2. Run in the place where you live. While parks are great for getting away, sometimes straying from the park can be a good thing when you need variety or a change of pace (pun intended). Jog or power walk through a residential area of town that has an interesting history or one that you find particularly charming or beautiful.

3. Play red light, green light. Next time you’re stuck at a stoplight, don’t just stop or jog in place, impatiently waiting for the light to turn green. Use the break to do some squats or use that street pole for a few one-armed push-ups or that city bench for an assisted plank.

4. Get on track. Running in a circle may not strike your fancy, but running and walking tracks can be great places for city dwellers to work out in peace. On the track, you can easily track your distance, avoid the traffic and distractions of street running and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have an easier-on-the-body rubberized surface for your workout.

5. Get active on your commute. Unless you work from home, you already have to commute to your job. So why not multitask with an active commute that doubles as a workout?

6. Hit the gym. You may love outdoor running and walking, but when the weather is bad or you work late hours, it’s hard to get out there and hit the pavement. A gym membership may be expensive, but it allows you to work out safely and comfortably.

Continued: Get Safety and City Tips for Each of the Ideas…

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Safety Tips for Runners and Cyclists

Written on September 9, 2011 at 3:35 pm , by

Safety in numbers! (Photo courtesy of Reggie Casagrande)

Safety in numbers! (Photo courtesy of Reggie Casagrande)

Poor Reese Witherspoon! According to this NBC LA article the actress was hit by a car running on a road in Santa Monica on Wednesday. Witherspoon was struck by an 84-year-old woman who failed to slow down at a pedestrian crosswalk. Luckily, Witherspoon only suffered minor injuries and after a quick trip to the hospital is said to be resting comfortably at home.

Unfortunately the chances of getting hit while running or cycling is greater than we often think. But that doesn’t mean you have to bring your routine inside. Instead, keep these precautions in mind the next time you head out.

For Runners:

  • Always carry ID! Whether it’s your actual license or an identification tag like Road ID, it’s important to have something on you in case you do get hurt and need assistance.
  • Run facing traffic, not with it. And always run on the outside of turns if possible, not on the inside where cars are likely to whip around before seeing you.
  • Keep your music low. Blasting Lady Gaga might make you run faster, but it’s also going to make you miss a car’s horn or warning call.
  • Wear reflective clothing, especially late at night.
  • When you can, run with a friend. You can be on watch for each other!

For Cyclists:

  • As opposed to running, make sure to ride with traffic, not against it.
  • Make sure your brakes are in top condition in case you need to stop suddenly.
  • Know the traffic laws! Many states have cycling laws riders have to abide by in addition to traffic laws that all riders should obey as well.
  • And we have to say it — wear a helmet! Not only will it protect your noggin, it will help cars recognize there is a cyclist on the road.

Now tell us: Are we missing something? What’s the best outdoor safety tip you’ve ever received?

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