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Exercise caution while staying fit outdoors in winter

"Criminals definitely take advantage of the longer cover of darkness in winter.”

For those exercising outdoors, there are a few simple steps to follow to stay safe in winter, as daylight becomes shorter and there are potentially fewer people out and about.

Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communications for Fidelity ADT, said not only do people exercising outdoors have to be aware of other road users, but they must be mindful of criminals too.

In its operational footprint, Fidelity ADT has experienced muggings of joggers and cyclists, and bicycles and other valuables being stolen at gunpoint.

Although these types of incidents often take place in broad daylight on busy roads, Hattingh said it is concerning how many people still exercise alone in isolated areas.

She believes it is wise to adjust your exercise routine in winter to avoid being out in the dark.

“We understand the importance of routine to stay motivated in your fitness regime, but this can’t be done to your detriment. Criminals definitely take advantage of the longer cover of darkness in winter,” she said.

“However, there are other types of emergencies that can arise, like falling and getting injured or being hit by a car.
“It is important to be realistic and prepared for an emergency when you head off.”

Fidelity ADT’s top 10 tips for winter outdoor safety when exercising:

• Always tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back.

• Try to vary your route so that your routine does not become obvious to criminals.

• If you are carrying valuables they should be concealed. It is not advisable to head off without a cellphone.

• Carry your ID, medical information and emergency contact information.

• Stay alert by not talking on your phone and keeping the volume down on your earphones.

• Wear brightly coloured clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night.

• Be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you notice someone suspicious on your route, take a detour to avoid them.

• Don’t be distracted by strangers asking for help or directions. Even the most innocent of couples in a car could be armed robbers.

• Be aware of being followed home. If you think you are being followed call your private security company to report it and ask them to meet you at your gate.

• There is safety in numbers. Despite Covid-19, if you have the opportunity always head out with someone else instead of alone.

“I would say the most critical of the tips offered is avoiding isolated areas, exercising alone and heading off or coming back in the dark,” Hattingh said.

“Take heed of crime trends in your area which are shared on Whatsapp groups and always report any incidents or suspicious persons to the police or your security company.”


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