Walk to Work Safely!
On April 1, 2019, swap your loafers for sneakers and participate in Walk to Work Day! What began as a promotion in a magazine in 2004, is now promoted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the initiative is to increase awareness about the many benefits of walking.
Walking is a great way to exercise, but did you know it’s also good for your mental health? Mornings can be hectic, and being in a rush can increase stress. The U.S. Department of Health encourages participation in Walk to Work Day as it forces people to take their time and enjoy the morning. Starting out the day with a leisurely walk will not only get your body moving, but it will also help to clear your mind, setting you up to be more productive for the rest of the day.
There are countless benefits to participating in Walk to Work Day, but it’s important to do so safely. These tips will help you prepare for your walk and ensure that you have the best possible experience.
Tips for Walking to Work Safely
Know Your Route
You may think that because you drive to work every day, you already know where you’re going, but it may not be that simple. Routes that are accessible to vehicles are not always accessible to pedestrians, and vice versa. While driving you might take the freeway, whereas on foot you have to keep to side streets. But there are shortcuts available to pedestrians that cars cannot access as well, such as footpaths through parks, or sidewalks on one-way streets. Before you walk to work, spend some time reviewing your route options and make sure you know where you’ll be going. This will save time in the long run, as you won’t get lost or be forced to backtrack when you run into an area that you can’t walk through.
Let Someone Know
If you plan to walk to work, this may affect what time you will arrive. Letting someone you work with know in advance will prevent your coworkers having to worry if you don’t arrive at your usual time. If possible, ask to exchange numbers with someone so you can alert them if an issue arises. These tips will help to keep you safe, but making sure those around you are informed of your plans will ensure they are prepared to help in the event something does happen to you on the way.
Prepare for the Weather
If you’ve ever been out walking and suddenly been caught in a rainstorm, you know how unpleasant that can be. To avoid disaster, make sure to check the weather forecast for the morning of your walk. Even if there’s only a slight chance of rain, it’s better to bring an umbrella than regret not having one later. Regardless of whether they predict rain or shine, remember to protect your skin from harmful UV rays by wearing sunscreen at all times. Guard yourself against mother nature by planning ahead – forewarned is forearmed!
It may seem silly, but it’s important to walk with confidence. Keeping your head up and your back straight while maintaining a steady pace will make you less of a target for possible attackers.
Choose the Right Footwear
You want to look your best for work, but fancy footwear can be uncomfortable and unsafe. Walking for an extended period should only be attempted while wearing proper walking shoes. You can always bring your heels and loafers with you, but it’s best not to attempt any hikes while wearing them if you hope to avoid slipping, tripping, or getting blisters.
Walking is considered a low-impact activity, but your body is still working hard to keep you going. Treat it right by making sure you have lots of water with you. Staying hydrated is important no matter how far or fast you’re going.
Wear Bright Colors
Motorists can have difficulty spotting pedestrians even at the best of times. The danger of being missed only increases in the early morning and evening – the less sunlight there is, the less visible you are. Wearing bright colors allows drivers to more easily see you, making it less likely you’ll be injured in an accident.
Travel Through Populated Areas
Getting there faster isn’t always worth it. Even though a shortcut may be tempting, if there aren’t a lot of people around, opt for the long way. There is safety in numbers, so we recommend you try and keep to well populated areas as much as possible, as it can reduce the likelihood of running into an unsafe situation.
Being aware of your surroundings is one of the most important ways you can keep yourself safe. Listening to music can make your walk a lot more fun, but it can also be a dangerous distraction. If you do use headphones, look around more often while walking, and make sure the volume isn’t turned up so high that you can’t hear what’s going on around you. You may have heard of distracted driving, but what about distracted walking? Looking at your phone while walking can be just as dangerous, so we recommend avoiding it as much as possible. Keep your ears and eyes open and to stay alert!
Know Your Direction
When walking along a road that doesn’t have a sidewalk, many pedestrians wrongly assume that they should stay on the right-hand side of the road, just as they would while driving. Though it may seem counterintuitive, it’s actually safer to walk on the opposite side. As a pedestrian, it can be difficult to detect when cars are coming up from behind you. You can’t move as quickly as a motor vehicle, and by the time you realize one is approaching, there may not be enough time to move aside. Instead, walk in the direction of oncoming traffic. You’ll see approaching vehicles much more quickly and be able to avoid them much more easily.
Tips for Walking at Work Safely
After you’ve walked to work, you may very well have more steps ahead of you. Whether you’re moving around a construction site or strolling through an office, here are some tips to prevent accidents once you’re at work.
• Ensure all passageways are clean and are kept in an orderly fashion;
• Ensure floors are kept clean and dry at all times;
• Keep floors free of tripping hazards, such as wires or mats, which don’t lay flat;
• Make sure guard rails have been installed for every stairway; and
• Always wear appropriate footwear.
Walk to Work Day is a wonderful way to change up your routine and enjoy Arizona’s great outdoors. Just remember that walking involves more than simply putting one foot in front of the other. By following these simple tips, you can enjoy your walk and arrive at work safe and sound.