Friday, August 26, 2022

Safety Tips for Running/Walking in the Dark

 It's beginning to get dark earlier and stay dark well into the early morning workout time. A few years ago was reminded during my early morning run that, although an amazing cardiovascular exercise and stress reliever, exercising on the street or even sidewalks can be a super dangerous sport. TWO cars almost flattened me at TWO different crosswalks-yikes! Soooo…I thought I would review some safety tips for runners/walkers who are finding themselves running in the dark now that the sun rising later and setting earlier.

Although I was practicing most of these safety tips, the drivers of these cars were not paying attention  And, although I had the right of way in both of these situations, it is really really important to pay extra attention and assume that I am not seen unless acknowledged and take the proper precautions even thought they were in the wrong. Okay…that’s my little soap box. Here are the tips.

 ·  Wear the right stuff.  Wear reflective and light-colored clothing. Don’t be one of those maniacs wearing all black and running in the street pre-dawn.

·   Carry a flashlight or wear headlamp. Not only does this really draw attention to you in the pitch-black, it also helps you navigate while you run. Nothing stinks more than stepping on something you couldn't see and breaking an ankle (been there).

·   Pay attention and take precautions. Don’t assume that drivers see you…make sure to             make eye contact with them. It doesn't matter if it’s your right of way if you get hit.

·  Run or walk on the LEFT side of the street. You should be going against traffic when walking and running anyway so that you can leap out of the way if a car comes at you. If you’re on a bike, you go on the right side of the street-with traffic.

·  Try to stay in populated areas with plenty of lighting. That’s just a no-brainer.

·  Make it social. It’s easier to see two people than one person, plus you have a bit of defense if you happen to run into a sticky situation like an injury or creepy person.

I’m sure you all have other suggestions as well…feel free to leave a comment and share it with us!

The Stress-Busting Diet

 We all get stressed out every once in a while. Right now, everyone I talk with is having that change-of-season-stress. I personally ball of anxiety over schedule changes this fall-school starting, volunteer organizations I’m involved in, sprots practice and game schedules and the school’s ABCD schedule (if you know you know), fall travel and birthdays, etc.

 I knew I hit my wall when I lost my mind trying to find the required clear plastic ruler that doesn’t exist at any one of the 3 stores I went to and also needed 8 sharpies only come in packs of 5 and 12 (think Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride" ripping hot dog buns out of the packages to make the right number...insanity).

 Anyway, while my eye is starting to twitch at the prospect of my PTA and -gasp- my actual WORK to-do lists, I am reminded that instead of reaching for the tenth cup of coffee this morning and stuffing my face with chips and cookies (and let’s be honest-goblets of wine) that I so badly want, it's actually much better for my anxiety level (and the health of my family relationships) to eat these stress busting foods.

 Maybe you could use a few too :)

  • Oatmeal: a nice warm bowl of oats boost levels of serotonin which is a calming brain chemical.
  • Spinach: the magnesium in spinach makes sure that you aren't deficient in this vitamin which can lead to fatigue and headaches 
  • Fish (the fatty kind): omega-3 fatty acids found in swimmers like salmon and tuna prevent surges in stress hormones
  • Avocados: reduce blood pressure by making sure you get enough potassium...avocados have a ton of it
  • Crunchy raw veggies: not only do you get filling fiber and vitamins and minerals, the pure act of crunching and chewing a carrot stick, crisp cucumber, jicama or celery causes a clenched jaw to relax
  • Berries: they are yummy and they have stress reducing anti-oxidants as well as lots of vitamin C to boost your immune system.
  • Dark Chocolate: oh yes...but just a bite and it needs to be at least 70% cocoa. It's packed with antioxidants that lower blood pressure and gives your brain a bit of a relaxed feeling
  • Pistachios: this is a two-for-one: they have phytonutrients which give us some antioxidant support and the rhythmic shelling of this diet friendly nut will help you relax and slow down your eating

So, today, I’m taking a deep breath and having oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast, a spinach salad with raw veggies and avocado for lunch and salmon for dinner with a bite of dark chocolate to finish off the day.