Safety Considerations and Etiquette in Fitness Walking

Walking for fitness is a cheater’s way of sightseeing. You can tour places from your  own city’s neighborhoods to streets and villas in distant countries. Sure, paved trails and  tracks can be a nice  retreat, but  they’re unnecessary unless you’re doing an advanced workout requiring timed paces and specific distances. Otherwise, anywhere that’s safe  is a walker’s paradise. Safe is the  operative word here. Once  mindful  of safety, think  of your  walks while you’re  traveling as an exploratory treat, not  an exercise chore. The  same applies to walks  at home. Find a neighborhood or park  you don’t  know and  go for a visit.

Safety Considerations and Etiquette in Fitness Walking No matter what, though, safety comes first, and etiquette for others isn’t far behind. Follow these guidelines to stay  safe, to share the  road and  track, and to always return unharmed:

  1. If you can’t use bike paths or sidewalks, walk on a road facing oncoming traffic. However, always walk on the  outside of a blind  curve.
  2. Walk defensively. Don’t assume the pedestrian right-of-way or challenge vehicles. Not every locale recognizes a pedestrian right-of-way.
  3. Wear light-colored or reflective clothing as well as blinking safety lights at dusk, dawn,  and  night.  Bright  colors attract attention too.  Or find tracks or other areas that are lit well at night.
  4. Always carry identification with  you  in case of an  accident or  medical emergency. If you’re  traveling, carry the  name of the  hotel where you’re staying and  the  name of an emergency contact at home or work.
  5. If possible, walk with a companion. Otherwise, tell someone where you’re going and when  you expect to return. If you walk with your  dog, he may increase safety, but  make sure he’s well trained and  scoop his waste.
  6. On a path, stay to the  right  so that faster walkers, runners, and  cyclists or skaters can  pass. Avoid pack  walking—spreading your  group across the  entire trail—which clogs  the  way for others.
  7. On a track, stay in the  outside lanes, unless you’re  doing  a structured, timed workout.
  8. Leave the  earphones and  personal stereos at home so you’ll be alert to dangers, be they  animal, human, or urban.

Graceful, ground-skimming, invigorating walking requires focus on technique, but  the  right  shoes and  clothes can also  contribute to an effective and  enjoy- able workout, especially when it’s hot, cold, wet, or windy.

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