Here’s part 2 of my safety tips for active woman: make personal safety a priority while you’re exercising and enjoying the outdoors
It’s time for part 2! Hopefully you read my first post and were able to take away some good tips. There was so much information I wanted to share, but since that post was getting super long, I ended up splitting it into 2 parts. Here is the second installment of that post.
I thought about making some self defense videos with my husband. As a cop he is very good at custody and control methods that can also be used for self defense. If self defense videos are something that you might be interested in seeing from us, let me know!
1. Trust your instincts
I cannot overstate this enough: trust your gut! I believe that God has given us that inner voice and those gut feelings to help guide us away from danger. Whether you believe in God or not, we can all still agree that we have instincts that protect us. Don’t ignore those odd feelings. If something or someone makes you feel bad, don’t ignore it.
If something seems wrong or off, listen to that voice inside. Your safety is important. You have those weird or odd feelings for a reason, even if the person making you feel badly is someone you know. There is a reason for those gut feelings, train yourself to listen to them and take action on them.
If you have children and things don’t seem right with their relationship with others, don’t leave things to chance: communicate with them and foster an environment of open sharing within your home. Create a safe place for your kids and really take the time to listen to them.
Practice listening to your gut feelings even when you’re watching a movie or listening to music. Have you ever watched the play or movie “Into the Woods”? I personally didn’t like the movie (too many reasons to share here including a crappy story line).
But the whole scene in the movie with Red Riding Hood and the Wolf was icky. Listen to the words of the songs in this part of the show and it becomes obvious the Wolf is a pedophile looking for his next victim. That scene of the movie had bad feelings written all over it.
Media, TV, movies, and music can change what people perceive is acceptable sexual behavior. There is debate about whether shows like “Game of Thrones” (and the books of the same) desensitizes people to rape and incest. If you get that bad gut feeling watching a show like that, tune in to something else.
Don’t ignore those feelings even when you’re reading a book or watching TV. The more you ignore those feelings the less those bad feelings will bother you, and that’s not a good thing. Stay sensitive to those feelings and they can help you stay safe.
I use my FlipBelt all the time: I carry my phone and a knife in it when I run or bike
2. Know what you will do ahead of time
As I mentioned before, in high stress situations practice can make a huge difference. Anyone in self-defense like karate or custody-and-control will tell you the same thing. High stress situations are not the time to decide what you will do to protect yourself: those are decisions that need to be made ahead of time.
Take some time to think about your favorite routes and possible scenarios. Are there houses or neighbors you can get to for help? If you use your pepper spray, what is your next step?
It might seem silly, but LEO are trained to always think ahead and it’s something I do frequently as well. If I am running a new route, I will check around for homes, businesses, safe areas to run if needed, and potentially unsafe areas to avoid.
These mental preparedness techniques do not need to be all consuming: they shouldn’t dominate your thoughts as you run. But you need to make mental notes of those sorts of things as you go. And know ahead of time how you will defend yourself if someone does try to attack you. In those situations, mere seconds in time can make all the difference.
3. Carry yourself with confidence
This was something my Dad used to tell me when I was growing up and has a lot to do with #4. Keep your head high and walk with determination. Don’t shuffle your feet, don’t stare at the sidewalk. People who are self-aware and alert do not usually make good targets.
This one is a bit hard one for me since I normally tend to be shy and I can be socially awkward sometimes. In that case, I have to fake it a little bit! Even if you are not a naturally confident person, know that your body language tells people about you as you walk down the street.
4. Be careful of GPS fitness apps, especially if you are a creature of habit
I love to use MapMyRun and MapMyFitness to track my routes with GPS since I don’t have a GPS watch. But take some precautions about what you share with people in those apps. Sharing your favorite routes isn’t always a good thing when you’re thinking about safety, especially since you can easily search by area in some of them. A friend of mine commented that through an app they found out what time their neighbor ran at precisely the same time every morning and the same route every day since they shared it on an app and made their route public.
I am certainly not that predictable when it comes to running or biking. I don’t follow the same route or run at the same time, or even the same days. I’m rather sucky at staying on a regular running schedule, but that isn’t always a bad thing. Experts suggest mixing up your walking, running, or biking routes is a good way to thwart would-be attackers.
Practice with your tools! Pepper spray works on aggressive dogs and small predators too
Here are some other things you can do as well, not just for yourself but for others, too:
- Don’t support stores or websites that sell pornography. Pornography is a piece of the puzzle in sexual violence. There has been some debate on this, but it is well recognized that pornography promotes viewing women as sexual objects and things rather than people. Violent and deviant pornography desensitizes users and promotes sexual violence. Not everyone who looks at pornography is a rapist, but it does damage a person’s view of the intrinsic value of other human beings. We are more than objects. We were created for more. Don’t support an industry that reduces people to possessions and items.
- Recognize that there is a connection between sexual violence and human trafficking, sex tourism, drug trafficking, etc. These illegal industries support each other and they nurture sexually violent behavior. Sex trafficking only worsens the problems we are trying to solve. Support organizations that work to eradicate human trafficking like Operation Underground Railroad, Elizabeth Smart Foundation, and the A21 Campaign. It is a battle, but there are good people out there willing to fight that battle. Do what you can to support them.
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist