You might be a weekend warrior or even a professional competitor – but whatever your fitness and training goals are for 2021, make sure that safety is part of your resolutions for the new year.
“The start of a new year is a perfect time to focus on shaking off the holiday kilos and shape up for a new you. There are a few basic tips to follow to help make sure that you can focus all your attention on your training without having to worry about criminal elements,” says Charnel Hattingh, Head of Marketing and Communication for Fidelity ADT.
An important safety aspect to consider this year, she adds, is health related measures linked to the coronavirus pandemic. The department of Health and local authorities may impose restrictions and limits depending on the spread of the virus, which could also impact on outdoor fitness regimes. “Always make sure you know exactly what regulations are in place.”
Hattingh further recommends:
1. Identification – Carry some form of identification on you, so that any bystanders will know who you are and who to contact in case of an emergency. Most exercise gear has small pockets for this very reason
2. Safety in numbers – Hattingh strongly discourages running or cycling alone. Rather join a group of people who can look out for your safety and also offer moral support along the way when muscle pain or cramps set in
3. Tell someone – Another good idea is to ensure someone you trust, knows that you are headed out for a run or cycle, has an idea of the route you plan to take and when you should be returning. In this way, they can quickly raise the alarm if you do not return as planned
4. Be visible - Wear reflective clothing to make sure you are visible to other road users. Run against traffic and cycle with traffic. This makes you even more visible to others. If you can, make use of pavements or any designated cycle tracks
5. Vary your routine – Changing up your route and training time makes it difficult for any would-be criminal to anticipate your movements. The change in scenery can also make the physical exertion more bearable
6. Charge your phone battery – Make sure your cell phone battery is fully charged so that you are able to call for help in case of an emergency. It is also important to save the correct emergency contact numbers on your phone, so that you can quickly contact the police, your security company or your neighbourhood watch when you need them
7. Mobile tracking – Find out from your security company if they offer a mobile tracking app which can be downloaded on your cell phone. This is an effective way of alerting emergency service providers when you need them while also giving them your accurate location, especially if you are running or hiking along a mountain path or in a forest
“Good luck for your fitness plans, no matter how intense they might be. We hope you reach whatever goals you have set for yourself,” says Hattingh.