6 Outdoor Exercise Safety Tips

Follow these safety tips to make the most of your outdoor workout while protecting yourself from injury.

Woman hikes mountain for her outdoor exercise.

Staying active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise has many benefits including decreased stress, improved muscle strength, and better mental health.

When you choose to get outside for your daily exercise, you can enjoy even more benefits from your workout. Follow these outdoor exercise safety tips to make the most of your workout while protecting yourself from injury.

Map your route

If you like to run, walk, bike, or hike outdoors, you can enjoy the benefits that come with cardiovascular activity while taking advantage of the pleasant weather. Before you lace up your sneakers or hiking boots, take a few minutes to map out your route and let a friend or family member know where you’ll be.

Mapping out a route can not only help you avoid taking a wrong turn, but it can also help someone find you if you get lost or don't come home when expected.

Protect your skin

It's important to protect your skin from the sun's harsh UV rays. Before heading outdoors, make sure to apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. You should apply about an ounce or enough to fill your cupped hands.

You can also protect yourself by wearing a hat, visor, or other clothing with UV protection. This, however, should not be used as a replacement for sunscreen.

If you’ll be outside for more than a couple of hours or you’ll be sweating a lot during your workout, bring a bottle to reapply. Look for sunscreen that won’t wear off when you sweat.

Related: Stay Safe This Summer and Protect Your Body from the Sun's Harmful Rays

Stay hydrated

It can be challenging to carry enough water to stay hydrated, but dehydration is something you should try to avoid at all costs. If you’re exercising during the hot summer months, it’s especially important to drink water throughout your workout. Hydration packs and belts are also great for active individuals, as they can help you carry more water.

Related: Stay Hydrated and Avoid the Dangers of Dehydration by Drinking More Water

Check the weather

It’s also smart to check the weather forecast before you head outdoors for a workout. Although the forecast isn’t always perfect, it can give you an idea of what to expect and how to dress.

If the expected temperature is in the triple-digit range, you may want to wait until it cools down to avoid getting overheated. If you see rain in the forecast, you can dress in waterproof apparel and footwear.

Choose visible apparel

Choose apparel that makes it easy to see you, such as light- or bright-colored clothing or pieces with reflective elements. This is especially important if you like to exercise outside early in the morning or in the evening, after the sun has gone down. If you’re exercising in the sunshine, look for apparel that offers protection from the UV rays.

Avoid bug bites

Depending on where you live, bug bites could be an issue when you’re trying to exercise outside. Mosquito bites are particularly bothersome, and mosquitos have been linked to various illnesses and diseases, so it’s best to protect yourself as much as possible.

These flying critters tend to hang out near stagnant water, so you might want to choose a workout spot away from ponds and lakes. You can also protect yourself by applying insect repellant or staying indoors during the times of day when bugs are out in full force, such as just after the sunrise and at dusk.

By following these safety tips, you can protect your health while enjoying an outdoor workout.

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