exercise in dark

How to exercise safely in the colder, dark winter days

As the nights draw in earlier and it is dark before most people start or finish work, those who enjoy their outdoor exercise need to be more prepared to remain safe.

Exercise is important for our mental health and wellbeing and there is no reason to not continue your exercise routine just because of the darker mornings and nights. The NHS website states that “Regular exercise will make you feel more energetic, which should make it a little easier to get out of your warm bed on cold, dark mornings.”

It is however important that you ensure you are protected and here are our tips to stay safe on the roads this winter.

  • Follow the flow of traffic

Bike with traffic and run against traffic. When running, even at a slow pace you can easily see what is coming towards you, which gives you time to move out of the way and they have enough time to spot you before changing their speed to accommodate you in the road. However, you need to be careful on small country roads with tight bends, traffic will be tighter into the edge of the road – so be mindful that they might not see you quickly, even if you do have a light or reflective gear on.

  • Be visible

It goes without saying that in the dark, you will not be seen unless you are wearing light reflective, hi-vis clothing. Wear a head torch or chest light for extra visibility. If you are walking a dog make certain that they are wearing a reflective coat, lead and a spot-light so they are just as visible as you are. When riding a bike, ensure the lights are properly working and your bike is well lit.

  • Plan your route

There will be more obstacles when exercising in the dark, ensure that you have a well- planned route. Take a route that is well lit, and you can see more clearly, especially if you are out alone. Make sure that you have told someone where you are going and carry a fully charged phone if possible.

  • Utilise technology

There is some great tech out there for runners and cyclists. Use these to plan and track your route, share these with others so they can track where you are as well as your progress.  Have a look for apps that are specific for safety such as Glimpse, which shares your location with family and friends and Safetipin which alerts you if you have entered an area that is deemed unsafe.

  • Safety by numbers

Running, cycling or walking in groups is not only more motivating but it is safer in the dark. Make sure you all stay together and shout out any obstacles or upcoming walkers, vehicles or bikes.

  • Avoid headphones

It is nice to exercise to music or listen to a podcast whilst walking but this creates a real hazard to your concentration and hearing oncoming vehicles, more so in the dark. Instead, concentrate on your surroundings and the natural sounds around you.

If you manage a running or cycling club, please get in touch with us to discuss any requirements that you might need to consider when exercising as a club in the dark. Mann Broadbent have 60 years’ experience in providing sports, dance and leisure insurance so we are a trusted team with a wealth of knowledge for you to tap into. Call us today on 01905 612336 or email enquiry@mannbroadbent.co.uk.