Exercise is any physical movement of the body which boosts fitness and contributes to overall health.
People give a lot of excuses for not exercising or going for regular workouts, but like it or not, exercise should be mandatory for everyone.
The way we keep fit may vary. Some prefer indoor exercises in gyms or playing indoor badminton and futsal. Others may opt for outdoor exercises like playing a field game, jogging, brisk walking, swimming and cycling.
Whether indoors or outdoors is immaterial as long as the body gets a proper workout. Exercise is key, as it prevents many illnesses. Conversely, the absence of a regular exercise routine may contribute to ill health.
As a routine, I start my daily morning exercises with a brisk walk around my neighbourhood for about an hour. If time permits, I do a second round in the evening as my target is eight kilometres a day.
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On odd occasions, I walk at night or until recently, before the crack of dawn. I do it only when time and commitments do not permit me to walk in the mornings or evenings or if the humidity is too high in the evening.
Since my friend Peter Ray requested me to write on the precautionary measures which need to be taken while exercising at night, I would like to share my personal experience.
Here are some tips I observe especially when walking in the dark:
- It is good to confine yourself to the vicinity of your neighbourhood when walking in the dark
- Always wear reflective shoes if you are walking along the streets because your feet are the fastest moving parts and the reflective strips on your shoes will flash, thereby forewarning motorists
- Ensure you wear a reflective T-shirt, preferably green. If possible, wear a reflective wristband
- Wear comfortable sneakers. The soles must be able to grip well to the ground, especially at night and after a heavy downpour
- Try as far as possible to walk with a partner or team up with a local walking group
- Walk along well-lit streets and paths
- Leave your headphones at home when walking at night or even during the day, as it is important to hear cars, motorcycles, bicycles, dogs and people in the vicinity. I notice that some young people these days like to listen to music while walking. I strongly discourage this practice
- Beware of uneven paths and obstacles. It is harder to see uneven walkways , roots, rocks, potholes and trash in the dark. So carry a torchlight and scan the ground 20 feet ahead of you for obstacles
- Always exercise caution when crossing the streets. Keep in mind that drivers do not expect pedestrians to be out walking at night
- Look carefully on the ground for dogs’ and cats’ poo to avoid stepping on it
- If you are uncertain of the weather, always carry an umbrella. Alternatively, tie a raincoat round your waist and use it if necessary. You might encounter a sudden downpour when you least expect it. It happened to me a few times, and I was completely drenched
- Try not to carry any money when walking at night. If you need to buy some items at the sundry shop or mini-market on your way back, ensure you have only the exact amount
- Observe physical distancing when walking
Anticipate possible unfortunate incidents when going out of the house every time, especially at night.
Whenever possible, prior to starting your exercise, inform a family member or a neighbour or friend about your route. Don’t forget to carry your fully charged mobile phone in case an urgent situation arises or your family members, neighbours and friends need to contact you if an emergency crops up.
Who knows, meeting a friend along the way and spending some time engaging in conversation might delay you. If you have a phone, you could avoid unnecessary anxiety for others who might worry about your delay in returning home!