3 Summer Safety Tips + 5 Safety Apps Every Woman Should Add To Her Workout
Summer is here and that means more of us are hitting the pavement and local trails on daily runs. While this is great for our cardiovascular systems, running alone can also be very dangerous, especially for women. Crazy exes, stalkers, and total strangers have been known to follow women out for a run, so make safety part of your exercise routine.
1. Never run using earbuds or headphones
Having the right song in your ears as you run may keep your tempo up, but it also ups the danger factor, especially for female runners. First, music can cause us to ‘tune out’ the world around us, making us miss that creepy guy that is around every corner or that skeevy van following behind on our route. Being unable to hear a potential attacker approaching from behind will leave you little time to react, either by calling out for help or going into a more public area for help.
2. Never run the same route
Like the music tip above, running the same route every day or every couple of days, leaves us open to tuning out what is happening around us. By altering the route, your mind remains more alert to what is happening around you on the run, and it also makes it harder for a crazy ex-boyfriend or a stalker to keep track of where you go on your daily run.
3. Never leave home without protection
If safety apps are mandatory (and they are), so is runner’s mace. These small containers are easy to slip into a pocket or your running bag, and each can has about 10 bursts of spray. The caveat is that mace and pepper spray aren’t legal to carry in all states, so check with law enforcement in your area first.
Speaking of safety apps, we’ve found five that are not only simple to use, but effective, as well.
1. Watch Over Me
Watch Over Me is a location sharing app. You input what you’ll be doing – driving home for the weekend, going for a run, etc – along with the time your expected to be doing that activity. A countdown starts, and if you don’t confirm your safety at the end, it triggers an emergency alert to pre-selected contacts in your phone. That alert includes what you were doing, and your last GPS-based location so that help can be sent to you. It also includes an automatic emergency alert which you can press to send immediately.
StaySafe is also timer based, allowing you to enter what you’ll be doing and for how long, and notifies contacts you select if you haven’t confirmed your safety at a certain time. It also includes a safety PIN that you choose, which can be entered to stop an alarm, and a duress PIN (also chosen by you), which can be entered to send immediate alerts to your contacts.
Glympse is a free app that allows you to share your location for up to four hours at a time with specific people: your mom, roommate, significant other, or best friend. You simply input what you’re doing/where your going, and the information is sent to your contact list, so they can check on you.
RunSafe takes safety a little bit further than simply sharing your location with a pre-selected person. In addition to sharing your location, it has a panic button feature which activates a minutes-long, loud recording and strobe light. This alerts nearby people, but also activates on your pre-selected friends’ phones, alerting them to trouble.
5. React Mobile
React Mobile is possibly one of the most safety-conscious of these apps. In addition to the ‘follow’ features that are similar to the other apps on our list, it has a panic feature that, when activated, calls friends or 911 to alert them to your situation. The SOS alerts are send via social media (Facebook or Twitter), text, and email, and only deactivates when you key in the cancel alert code.
A bonus to all of these apps is that they can be used outside your exercise regimen – you can use them to walk to your car if you’re working late, if you’re on a long drive alone, or any time you’re alone and feel uneasy about your surroundings. While these apps and tips can’t guarantee your safety, they can go a long way to making you feel more protected and less at risk while going about your day.