In a survey conducted by Runner & # 39; s World 67% of women said they were sometimes concerned that they would be attacked or attacked while running. Another 16% of women said they once feared for their lives while running.
Speaking of personal experiences, it doesn't take much to scare you when you exercise alone. I've walked outside in more rural settings and on the streets of cities like New York, and in either setting, any whistle, comment, long look or honk is enough to throw me off-center.
No one deserves to be afraid during exercise, and it is important to know what to do if you feel uncomfortable, or worse, your safety is threatened. Below are helpful guidelines on what to do if you feel unsafe while exercising and how to prevent things from escalating.
What to do if you are verbally or physically harassed
When someone says or even looks at you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, it is difficult to just walk away. But while you may feel the need to respond, react defensively, or confront the person, it can make matters worse.
"While no one should take 'harassment', responding as the situation escalates can be best to keep moving and get yourself out as soon as possible," Joyce Shulman, founder of 99 Walks , an Outdoor walking community for women, says CNET.
Harassment is in no way limited to the outdoors – it can also happen in public gyms. But according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), street harassment can feel more intense. "Because street abuse is about power and intimidation – and there is often a reasonable fear of escalating violence – it is essential to 'trust your gut in these situations'," RAIIN suggests on its website.
RAINN recommends the following strategies if you are in a situation that feels unsafe:
Assess the situation and evaluate whether it is safe to respond to the situation. Your safety is most important.
Remind yourself that this is not your fault. You have done nothing wrong. The person responsible is the person who puts pressure on you.
Identify an escape route. If you had to leave quickly, how would you do that? Locate the windows, doors, and other ways to exit the situation. Are there any people around who might be able to help you? How can you get their attention? Where can you go when you leave?
Go somewhere safe. If you are being followed inside or outside the gym and feel that your physical safety is at risk, you can approach a gym employee or find a public area where the harassed person may be discouraged from following you. Never hesitate to ask a trusted person for help.
Do what's best for you. The best thing to do when you are harassed is to make you feel safest and most comfortable. You are under no obligation to respond to or report a perpetrator. While responding to or reporting an intimidator can be powerful, it can also be tiresome and potentially unsafe. Trust that your judgment does the right thing for you.
How to Stay Safe When Exercising Outdoors
When Exercising Only Outdoors, Even When You Feel Safe, it is important to stay alert. While you cannot control what other people do, it is helpful to learn some tips and strategies that can protect you if you are ever in a bad situation.
Avoid Exercise Only
For many people, exercise is a form of meditation or an activity that helps them clear their head and let off steam. Unfortunately, only exercise – especially in remote areas – isn't the best when it comes to safety.
Try to identify places, paths, paths and parks where you normally feel safe and see many other people around. "The best attack is a good defense. Avoid exercising in places where you are alone, where it is dark or where 'bad guys' can hide," says Shulman.
Bring your dog, or a friend or family member. You can enjoy the company and opportunity to catch up with a loved one while feeling safer. "Practicing with a friend gives you responsibility, valuable time together, and improved safety and security," said Shulman.
If someone makes you uncomfortable, follows you, touches you, shows or says something you don't like, don't hesitate to report it. If you are in a gym, report the behavior to a receptionist or trainer.
If you are outdoors, whether there are other people around or not, immediately find a public place that feels safe. Once you are removed from the situation, you can report the behavior to the authorities. Use the National Street Harassment Hotline, operated by RAINN and Defend Yourself, to learn more about reporting harassment on the street. You can call 855-897-5910 or use the online chat hotline.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care professional if you have questions about a medical condition or health goals.