Of the many benefits of walking, one of the most appealing to many is the fact that it requires very little specialized equipment, minimal training, and can be done nearly anywhere. Walking is a fun way for your employees to improve their overall wellness, and almost anyone can take part right away. However, like all fitness activities, there are safety guidelines that walkers should be aware of. Below are a few walking safety tips to help your employees stay safe while taking the steps to a healthier life.
1. Pay Attention
There’s a disparaging cliché about people who are supposedly unable to walk and chew gum at the same time. However, multi-tasking while walking isn’t as simple as that saying might have you believe. If a walker’s attention is overly focused elsewhere, it can be possible to walk themselves into a dangerous situation or an injury. In fact, a recent study that examined pedestrians near busy streets suggests that texting while walking may be as dangerous as texting while driving.
In addition to surrounding streets and cars, walkers also need to be aware of any obstacles in the path ahead, uneven ground, and others around them on foot or bicycle. If they need to make a phone call or send a text message, they should stop for a moment and step aside before doing so. Also, walkers must beware of anything that might decrease their chance of hearing warnings or important sounds around them. It’s recommended to either leave the headphones at home or keep them at a low volume, and only in one ear if possible.
2. Be Visible
In addition to being aware of their surroundings, walkers must make sure that others are able to spot them, particularly if walking on a road or even on a sidewalk next to a road. They should wear bright clothing during the day so they’ll be easy to spot. At night, it’s advisable to wear white or light colored clothing, and wear or attach reflective strips or light-up accessories to the body and clothing. It’s also important to make sure they’re positioned so that they’re easy to see; avoid stepping out from behind bushes or parked cars, and walk in well-lit areas whenever possible. While walking paths and sidewalks are much safer alternatives, if they must walk in the street they should be sure to walk facing traffic.
3. Have a Buddy
Walking with a partner not only makes staying fit a fun and social activity – and makes you more likely to stick with your walking routine – but it also makes your walks safer. Whenever possible, walkers should take someone along with them, or have a regular walking buddy to meet up with. If they do walk alone, they should let someone know when they’re heading out, what route they will be taking, and when they expect to be back.
4. Prepare for the Weather
While many people prefer walking outdoors for the fresh air and wide-open spaces, it does require factoring in and preparing for the weather. In cold weather, make sure that clothing is able to keep you warm and protected; ideally, walkers should opt for wearing layers that they can shed if they get too warm but will keep them warm if the temperatures drop. In the hotter months, walkers should be sure to hydrate before and after walking, and bring water with them. If they live in a particularly warm climate, they should avoid walking outdoors in the hottest part of the day and risking dehydration or heatstroke. Instead, they are encouraged to opt for morning or evening walks, or to stick to indoor walking tracks until the weather improves. Also, walkers should remember to always apply sunscreen before going outdoors regardless of the season.
At Walkingspree, we provide superior corporate wellness solutions centered on the numerous benefits of our corporate walking program. Our customized health and fitness solutions combine advanced monitoring and tracking technology with the built-in-fun of motivating incentives, rewards, and social interactions for programs that result in high engagement, healthier employees, and positive ROI. To learn more about the significant benefits that your company and your employees can realize with our corporate walking program, contact Walkingspree today.