A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO FITNESS: Running & Walking Safety

A series, presented in partnership with getfit at MIT

(Though this video is targeted toward runners, these principles apply to walkers and cyclists as well!)

If you haven’t noticed, the days are getting shorter and shorter lately (). It’s an easy excuse to let your outdoor active pursuits take a backseat – but fight the urge to stay inside! Running or walking outside in the fall and winter can be refreshing and invigorating. Now that you know how to properly dress for the weather, it’s time to talk about SAFETY.

Unless you’re walking or running around a well-lit outdoor track, it is likely you’ll need to work hard to make yourself visible to motorists.


Survival guide for nighttime runners and walkers

Scientists who study vision say a few interventions can help keep commuters and exercisers safe on winter nights.

1. Light up your joints: Add reflective stripes on your ankles, knees, wrists, elbows. Put together, they spell biological motion and tell drivers you are a moving person, not a stationary object.

2. Mix it up: Reflective gear works only when lights shine directly on it. Use reflectors on many sides: bicycle spokes, running shoes, gloves.

3. Don’t put all your faith in lights: Flashing lights are better than nothing but not sufficient by themselves.

4. Assume drivers just can’t see you: Make eye contact whenever you can, especially at intersections.

We’ve found that a combination of reflective clothing, blinky lights, and reflective accessories seems to work best and give us the most peace of mind when out for a run or walk at night. Your local Marathon Sports has plenty of options for you to choose from!