Autumn is here and with it, we are already seeing cooler temperatures. The cool air definitely beckons you to work out while taking in the beautiful local sites and scenes. But with the cooler air also comes a shorter day which means that you may find yourself jogging before sunrise or after the sun sets. It is important that you also stay aware of your surroundings and think smartly about how you should work out to avoid any violent encounters.
I have compiled a few thoughts on how you can stay safe and still enjoy your outdoor jog.
Take a brief moment and look around you right now. Think about what you see and try to remember details of your current settings. You may even notice something you hadn’t seen before. When you are outside where you face more threats, you must become more aware. Look around and notice things that are out of place and people that make you feel uncomfortable. By focusing on one thing, you allow an attacker to find a blind spot. So look around often and make sure you aren’t being followed or watched. Also hearing is a necessary tool for animals to avoid an attack in the wild, but almost everyone who works out cranks up the music in their earphones before heading out. This makes it extremely easy for an attacker to sneak up on you especially if you are looking straight ahead the whole time.
Safety in Numbers
Lions usually attack the zebra that is separated from the herd. An attacker has the same primitive mindset and will usually avoid an altercation where a group of your friends can help you. Try to work out in a group if possible to have the strength of numbers. There are other benefits to working out with a friend such as not getting bored as easily and the support you feel when others are trying to accomplish similar goals.
Change Up Your Routine
Fitness trainers know that your body needs to experience muscle confusion and that it is healthy and wise to train different exercises that focus on the same muscle groups. It is also wise to avoid a pattern in training outdoors, especially if you are forced to work out on your own. Patterns are easy to follow, an if someone decides to stalk you, it becomes easy for them to know when and where to plan their attack if you follow a strict time and path to your run or workout.
Avoid the Dark
Running first thing in the morning or late at night seems like a fantastic idea. Cool air and peace and quiet makes for a great time to get your workout accomplished. However, this also is a dangerous time accounting for many attacks and abductions. Running while your neighbors are asleep gives you peace, but it is unlikely anyone will be awake to hear you scream if you are attacked. The cover of darkness also helps hide a potential attacker from your view until it may be too late. People are not the only threat though as drunk driving is more prevalent in the evening and attacks from wild animals may occur with most predators being nocturnal. If you are forced to run in the morning or evening, a well trained protection dog may be helpful and a welcome companion.
Naivety is Overrated
Thinking that bad things won’t happen to you does not prepare you to handle them. It is not my intent for anyone to live in fear and avoid everything they enjoy out of fear. But you must understand that A) Bad things DO happen (even to good people); B) Everyone can be potentially attacked (yes, even you); and C) Even with lots of preparation, you still may be attacked. What I often instruct in self-defense seminars is for my students to have a “Game Plan.” That means have an outline of how you will react to certain dangerous situations and practice it from time to time.
Please note that these are suggestions based on my experience as a self-defense instructor. Sometimes you can be faced with a harmful situation even if you have been alert and aware and followed all the guidelines. A good strategy is to engage in regular self-defense classes or martial arts instruction that is realistic for self-defense and that puts you in situations where you have to work hard to produce results.
At Beaufort MMA, we train with partners of different gender, size, strength, and experience level to give every one of our students the best chance to be prepared for an attack. If you are interested in attending a class or becoming a student, please visit us at Omni Fitness located in the Beaufort Town Center next to Bilo and near Kmart and the Outback Steakhouse.