I mentioned before the great health benefits that come from walking. In short, you overall physical and mental health is benefited extremely. Those who exercise regularly experience happier moods, sleep better and have lower cholesterol.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to exercise. It is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other onto the pavement. The longer and quicker you walk, the better health benefits you will receive.
That being said, walking can be a bit dangerous. I’m not talking “Mission Impossible” dangerous, but there are some specific hazards that you need to be aware of before you start pounding the pavement.
- Lurkers. This is the creepiest, but most dangerous part of walking outside. Getting attacked while walking outside is always a concern, especially if you are walking alone. There have been a few assaults and rapes of young girls who have been exercising outside. And all of these girls have one thing in common: they were walking alone in a deserted area. This is not to say that the girls asked for it, but there are some things you can do to safeguard yourself against an attacker. First, do not go alone. Safety in numbers could never be more true. Second, remember that visibility is key, which means going at night is a no-no. Also, make sure you go in a heavily populated and open area. A shaded, wooded area is prime location for a snatching.
- Injuries. Even something as simple as walking can produce injuries. It can be anywhere from stubbing your toe to tripping over a rock to rolling your ankle. Make sure to keep a steady eye on the path in front of you and make sure that you have the proper fuel before you exercise (high fiber and protein for energy and stamina) and enough water to keep you properly hydrated.
- Being distracted. Portable music has transformed exercising. Instead of being lost in a flurry of thoughts, you can work out to the pounding bass of your favorite song. But being your own personal DJ can pose some safety issues. You would be unable to hear anyone approach you (see lurkers above). Also, our earbuds and a busy street might not make the best combination. By tuning out sounds, you are turning off one of your most important senses. You won’t be able to hear cars, sirens or other noises that could prevent you from danger. Ditch the earbuds when you are in a busy place.
- Weather. Always check the forecast before you go. Being caught in a lightening storm or passing out due to scorching temps are not a great way to exercise.
- Animals. Most animals will go about business if you walk on by, but with some aggressive or stray animals, sudden movements might be your last. If an aggressive dog starts to stare you down, the last thing you should do it star back. It is true, dogs can sense fear. Don’t make any sudden movements and walk away slowly.