If there is a silver lining in the black Coronavirus cloud hanging over all of us it is that we are getting outdoors, exercising, and spending more time with our families. Instead of getting up early and going to the gym, rushing home to shower and going to work, we are exercising at home, often outside and often with our children.
For people accustomed to indoor workouts, including treadmill runs in a controlled environment, exercising outside comes with additional risks, including:
• Surface irregularities
• UV rays
Health experts recommend outdoor exercise for its positive benefits, physical and otherwise, but those benefits require adjustments to one’s workout routine and additional care to avoid outdoor injury risks. People used to working out indoors by themselves, focused only on their workout, are often unaware and surprised by the distractions when exercising outside.
Whether walking, jogging, riding a bike or engaging in other outdoor activities, there is a lot more happening outdoors, especially these days. Other people exercising, vehicles, and surface irregularities in roads and sidewalks, can distract your focus, resulting in an accident. So-called rolling stops by vehicles pose a danger to pedestrians, joggers and bike riders. Children are particularly at risk and need to be reminded not to assume vehicles will stop and to always try to engage the driver’s eyes before crossing in front of a vehicle. Drivers on cell phones are distracted and you should assume they do not see you. We recently helped a client recover $630,000 after being struck by a distracted driver talking on her cell phone. It should go without saying that your cell phone should be put away or left at home when exercising outside.
The flat floor of a gym or a level surface of a treadmill is vastly different than South Florida’s roadways and sidewalks. There are potholes, cracks and debris, all of which can cause trip and falls. It is important to keep a close lookout and adjust your step to avoid these hazards. Cyclists should always wear a helmet and children in Florida under to age of 16 are required by law to wear one. Cyclists must be especially aware of vehicles and maintaining a safe distance from them. In the past month there has been a significant uptick in bicycling traffic deaths. Click here to read about a bike rider we represented after being hit while exercising by an inattentive driver.
Exercising outside, especially in the fabulous South Florida weather, can be a source of relief during these trying times and great fun for the whole family. It is spring and summer is approaching. UV rays are always present and it is important when exercising outside to wear proper clothing and to apply sunscreen. Taking a moment to think about the differences between outdoor exercise and indoor exercise and to be mindful of unique outdoor exercise risks to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for you and your loved ones.