Running is a sport and a great way to exercise. However estimates are that up to 8,000 people per year had injuries caused by exercise and running requiring emergency room treatment in the United States. There are some precautions runners can take that can make their running experiences safe and healthy.
- Visibility: When running on the street or sidewalk wear white or bright colored clothes. In the early AM, night, or dusk wear reflective clothing/gear. Consider wearing a headlamp and rear flashing light.
Trail running requires a different type of visibility. Avoid wearing white, black, or red on trails especially during hunting seasons. The animals most associated with these colors are: deer, bears, and turkeys. One of our patients, who is a Game Warden (Fish and Wildlife Officer), recommends the wearing of fluorescent green or orange for greatest visibility on trails.
- Always let someone know your running route and if possible, run with a partner.
- Unless running on the sidewalk, run against traffic.
- Always carry some type of ID such as a driver's license. It is also a good idea to have your medical insurance card with you. ID tags/bracelets with emergency contact numbers and medical information are available for purchase. Bring your cell phone with the ICE (In Case of Emergency Number) programmed into your phone. Running belts are a great way to carry these items while running.
- Avoid running with iPods or MP3 players for outdoor runs. These devices keep you from hearing oncoming cars, unleashed dogs, etc.
- Make eye contact with drivers at street crossings.
- Carry pepper spray while running for protection from aggressive dogs and humans.
- Beware of your surroundings. Trust your intuition about people and areas. Change up your running routes.
- Ignore verbal harassment.
Consult your medical provider before beginning any exercise program such as running. If you are given medical clearance get out there, be safe, and start having fun!