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Play It Safe

Follow these tips to stay safe while exercising outdoors.

Dress for the weather

In the cold, wear at least three layers of fabric. Use an inner layer made from cotton or polyester to wick away moisture, a middle layer of fleece or wool for warmth, and an outer, water-resistant layer to protect from wind and rain. Layers insulate better than heavy coats because they trap warm air between them; if you heat up, you can shed some.

Stay cool

Exercising in summer heat can warm your body to a dangerous level, causing heat exhaustion or deadly heat stroke. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after going out in the heat. If you feel sick, faint or dizzy, cramped, or get a headache, STOP exercising immediately and cool down, even if you’ve stopped sweating or your skin feels cool.

Start slowly

If you have ADHD, you may be tempted to jump into an exercise schedule with Olympic effort, but this could cause an injury or exhaust you so much that you give up on exercise. Begin with less vigorous, shorter workouts and work your way up. Starting slow applies for each routine, too – stretch and warm up before and after every workout. Use a heart monitor or check your pulse regularly if you do interval training, and know how far you can safely push your heart.

Be cautious

Always consult a physician when you start a new exercise program. Whatever your sport, learn proper techniques to avoid injuries, and ease in with low-impact activities that won’t stress or injure joints. Always stretch before and after your workout. Exercising outdoors brings security concerns, too. If possible, exercise with a friend. Avoid remote places or any place where you could become a crime victim. Carry a whistle and learn self-defense techniques if you feel vulnerable. Tell someone else where you’re headed and for how long. A run or bike ride can take a child a long way from home or onto busy new streets. Don’t ever let your child go running where you would be afraid to let him walk.

Follow the rules

If your exercise takes you to the streets, learn the rules of the road and follow them, avoiding high-traffic areas. On a bicycle or in-line skates, always wear a helmet and other protective gear. Make sure to signal turns, and warn others when you are about to pass them. Wear high-visibility or reflective clothes, especially at night. Look for car-free recreational trails in your area. On the water, wear an approved personal flotation device and avoid hazards.

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