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Walk This Way: Taking Your Strides In Safety

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

We’ve all heard or been told that walking is one of the best exercises for keeping us fit, trim and healthy. But, whether you’re walking along the street (in your neighborhood), the local park, high school track, even in the mall, walking alone (especially back to your car from the mall late at night) may not be the best or safest approach.

But, putting your health and fitness “at risk” for fear of “risking” your safety may not exactly be the answer either. With that said, experts suggest the following strategies for protecting yourself.

1. Key Issues: Even if you’re simply running out to retrieve something from your car, it’s best to take your keys with you and have them ready at all time. They suggest keeping them firmly and securely inside your pocket and bringing them out holding the proper key in position as your approach you car of your front door. This will allow you to refrain from stumbling around to find them and take your focus off your surrounds, plus, you’ll have something to defend yourself with, if you have to.

2. Take Stride With “Pride”: The last thing you want to do is seem like you are a “tourist” or lack confidence. This automatically makes you an “easy” target. Instead experts suggest walks at a steady clip with confidence and purpose, especially when you are out alone. You’ll also want to walk facing traffic to keep yourself visible. And, if you sense any “discomfort” step aside into the nearest open store or restaurant, especially if you have to ask for directions.

3. Listen To Your Intuition: Generally speaking, most of us can trust our gut feelings. If you are concerned about someone following you, let them know that you know and sense their presence. In fact, turn to look at them, in a comfortable environment, to send the message that you are onto them. However, refrain from heading for your car or home, instead venture toward a more public arena or venue where you can loose them or get to safety or secure help.

4. Travel With Noisy “Toys”: Keep something handy that makes a strange, noticeable and loud noise and keep it pinned to your keychain or jacket.

5. Prep Yourself: You best defense is a well-planned offense. And, according to experts it’s best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Always, regardless of fear, look for an opportunity to escape if you can and try to stay calm if you are faced with an uncomfortable or “threatening” situation. Also look into self-defense moves and tips that you can get via a variety of web sites or through community self-defense classes.

6. Follow The No Need For Baggage Rule: Remember that the last thing you need is lots of baggage that can hold you down or keep you from getting into your car or house with ease. Remember, you need to be able to move swiftly and quickly and bags may make it harder to react promptly in a dangerous situation.

7. Crowd Yourself: Keep yourself in the midst of others and choose to walk along “busy” streets rather than back roads. Avoid parked cars, dark alleys, unlit areas, parking garages, or any other potential hiding places, especially when you are alone. Remember, your best protection often is keeping yourself visible and noticeable.

8. Clear Your Path Of Clutter: This is especially important in the winter. Pathways should be devoid of any clutter, including snow and ice so that you can get around quickly and easily. Make sure to shovel areas regularly and to keep a container or non-clumping cat litter handy to help melt ice and snow. You may also want to keep some handy in the trunk of your car, just in case.

9. Forego The Fancy Footwear: The sexy stilettos may look stunning but they won’t offer sure footing if you need to step up your stride. Consider choosing shoes that are comfortable and practical, especially if you have to pick up the pace. If you really want to put your best foot forward, carry a change of shoes in a bag for office, etc. but be sure to change back again before heading out to your car or making your way to your home.

Long Island Safety Articles > Walk This Way: Taking Your Strides In Safety

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