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How to Exercise Outdoors Safely

Runners or people who like to run that don’t categorize themselves as a “runner” (the category I fall into) - this one’s for you!

I’ve run on and off for all my life and wanted to list some must-haves and some leave-at-home-suggestions for those of us who like to run outside. Too, today more than ever before, safety is a huge concern for runners and really anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

Some of these are no-brainers while others are little hacks I have picked up on when I lived in the city. Please feel free to leave any of your suggestions in the comments below as it’s always good to share safety ideas with one another. 

How to Exercise Outdoors Safely

And here we go: 


High-Vis Clothing 

If you are running near or on any roads this is a MUST. I used to be that person that dressed in dark colors no matter where I ran, that was until I started to hear the horror stories of runners and bikers getting hit by drivers. Distracted driving is a frequent cause of accidents. So, do yourself a favor and stand out by dressing bright!


Which leads into my other point- 


Leave the Earbuds Home

“I can’t run without music, are you crazy!?” This used to be me. That was until I was running on the back roads one day and I had a car pull up behind me and literally slapped my behind…. WHILE I WAS RUNNING. Luckily it was only one of my friends messing around, but this was a huge wakeup call for me and it should be for you too. From that day on, I have learned to either leave my earbuds at home or keep my music volume very low, so I can pay attention to my surroundings. 


Keep People in The Know

I’m not talking about strangers, I am talking about a family member or friend. Always let them know where, when, and for how long you are expecting to be gone. That way if you are running late or don’t come home they can track your route.



House Key Storage 

Do you lock your house when you go out for a run? I never used to until I moved to an area with more neighbors. Now, I don’t dare walk out of the house for five minutes without locking up. Am I paranoid? I don't think so. I recommend having a spare key either hidden somewhere. Or, you can do what I do and carry it on you while you run. I loop my key into my shoe laces by unlacing my shoes a few holes, sliding on the key and then lacing them back up. This way if a shoe comes untied, your key will still be there. 


Reflective Tape 

Did I mention being high-vis? Well I am going to mention it again! Lots of sneakers and running clothes have reflectors on them, but if yours do not, or if they are not reflective enough you can buy reflective tape to line your clothes with. This is especially helpful this time of year when the days are short, and the nights are long. I am on TEAM BRING BACK DAYLIGHT, but until that happens I will just stock up on reflective tape. 


Carry While Running

No, I’m not talking about weights! I am talking about personal protection. Maybe I am paranoid, but there is something about carrying while running that makes me feel safer whether I am running the back-country roads or the sidewalks in the city. I feel safe knowing I have backup if, heaven forbid, I need it. My running buddy is my G42 paired with Winchester Train & Defend Ammunition. But before you do this it is super important to consider taking a concealed carry course and then make darn sure you practice, practice, practice even after you get your certificate. Your certificate alone does not mean you’ll be proficient when it comes to defending yourself if you need to. Instruction and practice are huge keys! Winchester’s W Train & Defend is ballistically-matched ammunition that pairs range-ready training rounds with threat-stopping, technology-driven defend rounds. Too, both rounds are designed for less felt-recoil. For me…my only choice for practice and carry. 


If you are new to shooting, a great resource to get information on where to start is the website of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The hyper-link I have added above will take you to their resource area for new shooters. And as far as where to go to take a conceal carry course, I’d simply recommend stopping by or calling your local gun range or sporting goods store as they are usually in the loop on this information. They sometimes offer CCW courses themselves. 


Cell Phone 

Finally, I always run with my cellphone. It seems that every time I decide to leave my phone at home is when something happens - I sprain my ankle, a thunder storm comes out of nowhere, etc. Therefore, I have learned to always bring it along, even if carrying it seems to be a pain!  


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Nikki Boxler
Nikki Boxler
Nikki Boxler grew up on a large dairy farm in Western New York and continues to reside there today. This setting has shaped her love of the outdoors and is how she developed a passion which drives her to spend as much time hunting and fishing as possible. For her, hunting is not about the kill, it is about the experience, the memories, the moments and having fun. Her most memorable adventures take place not only in the woods but also around the grill. Nikki thoroughly enjoys her role as co-host of Winchester Life.