A jog alone may be your workout of choice, but news of the safety issues this poses should not be ignored.
Two female joggers—one in Queens, New York and another in Princeton, Massachusetts—were murdered this week while running on trails in broad daylight near their families’ homes. In light of these crimes, women and men who jog outdoors should consider ways to keep themselves safe during workouts.
Self-defense expert Avital Zeisler offered tips on Good Morning America for preventing a harmful situation from happening and learning to defend yourself in an unavoidable safety risk.
Read a few of her tips for violence prevention and protect yourself from a potential attack.
1. Choose a safe route: Select a running path that is a higher-traffic route for others and make sure there is a safe location you can run to in case of an emergency. If you don’t feel like a path is safe, don’t risk going.
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2. Go with a buddy: Zeisler suggests jogging with someone you know or bringing your dog along. Many victims are targeted while alone, so safety is just another benefit of going with a friend or joining a running group!
3. Don’t take the same route: “The best routine is no routine when it come to your personal security,” Zeisler said. Following a predictable routine can allow someone to catch you off guard and you may put yourself in danger.
4. Be aware and cut distractions: Running to your favorite playlist is fun, but it’s also a distraction that can hinder your ability to use your senses as a safety tool. “I really challenge you to go out and have a new mindful experience, experience nature and just be aware,” Zeisler said.
If a situation can’t be avoided, Zeisler also demonstrated combative techniques to help you survive an attack.
For women who would likely be shorter than their attackers, the best combative techniques that target the face and eyes may be hard to reach. Zeisler demonstrated a defensive push kick move which targets the lower body (groin area), then performed a palm strike to the attacker’s face when he reflexively lowered his body.
Zeisler’s advice for using combative techniques is to have a strategy, practice the moves and know what you’d do in a dangerous situation.