It is great that you are interested in jogging and want to learn about how to run safely.
Jogging has many positive benefits on physical and mental health. Running outside also has some risks, including activity-related injuries (injuries due to running), vehicle-related injuries, or assault (physical or sexual). Running in the dark increases all these risks due to decreased visibility (ability for you to see your surroundings or for others to see you).
Overall, we recommend not jogging in the dark if you can avoid it. If you decide to jog in the dark, here are some things you can do to lower your risk:
- Jog with a friend or a group. A running partner can keep you motivated. They can also keep an extra eye on your surroundings. Running with others may also discourage a potential attacker.
- Wear reflective clothing or gear. This helps you stand out in the dark, especially to cars and other vehicles.
- Bring a light. This will let you see more of your surroundings, and help you avoid potential obstacles, such as tripping on an uneven sidewalk because you couldn’t see it well.
- Take your headphones out. The dark makes it harder for you to see what is going on around you. Being able to hear your surroundings will help keep you safe. Being aware of your surroundings is always important. Consider running without headphones or with one ear bud out even in the daytime.
- Choose your route wisely. It is best to run on well-lit crowded roads with sidewalks instead of in parks or paths. If you are running often, try changing your routine, including where you are running and the time of your run. Changing your routine may help prevent an assault.
- Tell someone. Let a friend, parent, or other trusted adult know where you are running and how long it will take, that way someone will know if something goes wrong. You can also share your location if you have a smartphone.
- Trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe at any point, run to a safe location. Call 911 (in the US) if you are in immediate danger.
If you have any additional questions about how to jog safely, talk to your health care provider.
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