While we plan to run or walk in the cooler, darker hours of the summer, the same time of day in the fall and winter brings with it health and safety issues. When exercising outdoors wear synthetic fibers that draw moisture to the top of the fabric and away from skin where it evaporates, allowing you to regulate body temperature easier. Materials to look for when choosing your clothing should be Tectel, Cool-max, Dri-Fit, micro meshes, fleece and breathable outer layers that provide wind and water protection. Stay away from water-proof items as they are designed to keep water from penetrating the material, translating into moisture held between layers as it is unable to escape. The temperature and wind-chill will dictate the number and type of layers you wear. Start with a base layer, a long sleeve mesh shirt will work, add a performance fleece, finish with a water resistant jacket and top it off with a head or ear protector and gloves or mittens. Make sure you are visible to all traffic by wearing light coloured, reflective clothing and ensure that drivers can see you before crossing roadways. Water resistant or Gortex waterproof trail shoes paired with compression socks will help keep feet warm and dry and increase overall circulation which helps regulate body temperature. When you are finished regardless of where you are, be prepared to change your clothing as soon as possible including all undergarments. Dehydration can occur in the winter as well as the summer as your breath is used to humidify the air being drawn in, so drink freely. Wear sunscreen 24/7, particularly on your face, neck and ears. Layer Vaseline on any exposed area of the face to prevent frostbite. When your shoes get wet, remove the insoles, stuff with newspaper and leave them overnight, they will be dry in the morning. Let someone know where you are going and how long you plan to be gone. Avoid going out on your own; run with a partner and/or dog. Carry identification and money for a phone call, or a cell phone. If you are sick, it is ok to exercise if all the symptoms are above your neck. If any are below such as coughing or you are achy, take the day off. DO NOT WEAR A WALKMAN. You cannot hear what is going on around you and that makes you extremely vulnerable. If you must listen to music, wear the headphones around your neck or better use Aftershokz bone conduction headphones. Carry a whistle or self-defense spray. Stay alert, and don't assume that all runners are harmless. Make it a habit to look around you periodically particularly when you hear noises that stand out, for example a yell or a slam. When approaching other people fight the urge to look away, looking them directly in the face/eyes. This will indicate that you are observant and have seen them.
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