It seems there just aren’t enough hours in the day to allow daylight time for some folks to get their daily exercise.  For some, the only time that they have available to take that walk, jog, or ride is in the early morning hours, or after work.  Exercising outdoors in the dawn or dusk times of day can require more thoughts about safety than full daylight hours. 

Here are some ideas that you may or may not have thought about if you are one of those busy folks that want to fit in your daily exercise regimen: 

  • Stretch before and after exercise.
  • Always run, walk, or ride against traffic. 
  • Be aware of other runners, walkers, cyclists.
  • Leave your I-pod, radio, or MP3 player at home.  You will be more likely to hear oncoming traffic, other exercisers, dogs, etc., if you aren’t listening to music.
  • Be familiar with your route. 
  • Pay attention to your surroundings.
  • Watch for tripping hazards, such as debris, or bumps in the roads or sidewalks.
  • Be visible – wear clothes that are yellow, orange, or white.  Reflective gear will help you be seen.  Clip-On lights for your caps allow you to see and be seen.
  • Carry a cell phone and identification.
  • Take along a walking stick.
  • Be especially careful when you cross streets.
  • Stay in well-lit areas.
  • Use the “buddy system.”  It’s much safer and time passes quickly when you have someone to chat with.
  • If you get a bad feeling about your location, follow your instincts, and go the other direction.
  • Should a dog want to intimidate you, don’t run away, but walk away.  If he follows you, stop, and tell him “no,” or “go home.”(This is where the big stick might come in handy, so you can intimidate him.) (You may want to change your route, or call animal control if he continues to try to bother you.) 

If you’d rather not be in the outdoors, go to a mall to take your walk.  For those who don’t live where there’s a mall, there are fitness centers equipped with all types of equipment such as treadmills and ellipticals that offer great types of exercise (with air conditioning, too!)  Most of these places won’t be open in the early morning hours, but you could cut your lunch short to allow time to work out before they close. 

We hope some of these ideas will be helpful to those of you who must be outdoors during early or late hours.  Staying safe and enjoying your time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life is very important.  It is also significant to point out that anyone driving during these times of lower visibility watch out for those who are riding bicycles, jogging, or walking.


  1. This is a great post, both for those who use these methods for exercise and/or “alternative” transportation and for those who use predominant forms of transportation and should be aware of those who don’t. One thing I want to point out is that cyclists are encouraged to ride with traffic, as opposed to against it as you suggest. This is the consensus among cycling safety experts, though it seems counterintuitive given experts’ opposite recommendation for walkers/joggers. The cycling safety community and its literature stress that cyclists are safest when they “act and are treated as drivers of vehicles” (see John Forester – http://www.johnforester.com/. Another commonly overlooked/misconstrued point, is that cyclists are actually encouraged to avoid sidewalks, and even marked bike-paths, and advised to use the main roadway instead. The reasoning is that drivers are less likely to see cyclists using peripheral routes.

    Not that there isn’t a fair amount of disagreement in the cycling community when it comes to safety – i.e., the helmet debate continues and there are still some who argue against the recommendations above.

    Altogether great post, though. Thanks.

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