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Keep from falling: 4 outdoor exercise tips for autumn

man with beard and woman walk in a fall forest with backpacks

For the next few months, just before winter envelops the U.S., the weather across the country is nearly perfect. As such, more people will head out of the gym and into nearby neighborhoods for a bit of exercise. Not only is the fresh air exhilarating, but exercising in the great outdoors has a number of other benefits. In one study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, outdoor runners reported feeling more happy and alert than a control group comprised of treadmill users.

Yet taking your daily exercise activities outdoors does have its own accompanying set of dangers. Specifically, the number of traffic accidents increase right around the end of Daylight Savings Time. According to a report by the U.K.'s Road Safety Analysis organization, traffic crashes increase by 3.9 percent in the weeks following DST. As such, it's important you and your family remain extra cautious this season. Here are a few vital tips to ensure that autumn is as prosperous as it is safe:

1. Select your shoes: As Men's Fitness pointed out, most people opt for low-top running shoes when using a treadmill. However, the terrain outdoors is far more diverse and tricky, and even if you're not running on dirt or rocky trails, the pavement is still impacting your feet. That's why you always want to choose running shoes with added padding or some kind of insular gel. Not only will your feet feel more comfortable, but you'll be better prepared in case you encounter any gravel or other roadside debris.

Running outside is a great way to exercise and enjoy the scenery.
Running outside is a great way to exercise and enjoy the scenery.

2. A word on water: Everyone knows it's important to drink plenty of water before any outdoor activity. Too little water and your body cannot function properly. However, too much hydration can also prove problematic, as this surplus can hinder your body's ability to do away with waste. As a rule, you want to try and drink between 16 and 32 ounces of water before exercising, and always be sure to remain hydrated during your actual regimen. Try to avoid sugary drinks or other supplements as they often don't provide a sustainable source of energy.

3. Layer it on: Generally speaking, most people wear smaller, lighter clothes while working out as to increase mobility. However, when exercising during those increasingly crisp autumn days, you need to consider the impact cold weather can have on your system. According to Women's Health, the fall weather can actually exacerbate certain respiratory issues. That's why it's vital you wear layers. The Mayo Clinic suggested implementing a two-tier system - a primary layer of lightweight clothing, like polypropylene, and a second layer of either fleece or wool. If you get too hot, you can always remove any outer layers.

4. Know your surroundings: It's important to know you may not be the only one taking advantage of the weather this fall season. Loads of people may also want to spend free time either running, doing lawn work or generally enjoying the extra-pleasant climate. That's why it's important you pay attention to your surroundings. Keep your headphone volume low enough so you can hear those passing cars. Be on the lookout for stray dogs or other potential threats. Only use running trails you're familiar with or that are well lit. Finally, always tell a family member where you're going before you head out.

If you do happen to experience any injuries or other accidents while exercising outdoors, you can always visit a CareWell Urgent Care location. Whether it's bumps and bruises or a twisted ankle, the doctors at each CareWell hospital can provide the necessary treatment to get you back on your feet.

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