How to protect yourself while jogging

Many people turn to jogging for exercise. It’s free, accessible and yields a number of health benefits. If you do it outside, you also get the added perk of some fresh air and sunshine, depending on the time of day. Unfortunately, several high-profile cases of women being attacked while jogging have many wondering if it’s safe to jog outside. Wendy Martinez, Mollie Tibbetts, Karina Vetrano and Vanessa Marcotte were all killed while out for a jog.

These women’s heartbreaking deaths have highlighted the risk associated with what should be a perfectly safe activity. Last year, a Runner’s World survey showed that 54 percent of women are concerned about being physically assaulted or receiving unwanted attention while running.

According to the magazine, your risk of being murdered while running is actually quite small, as a woman between the ages of 16 and 44 has only a 1 in 35,336 chance of being the victim of a homicide at any time. And in most cases, homicides take place at the hands of someone the victim knows. However, 43 percent of women have reported experiencing harassment while running.

There are definitely steps you can take to make your run as safe as possible. If you want to protect yourself while out for a jog, here are some helpful safety tips.

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

It’s always a good idea to take stock of what’s going on around you. Although a lot of people love running because it helps clear their mind, it’s important to avoid zoning out too much. According to Jennifer Cassetta, a self-defense expert and creator of “Stilettos and Self Defense” DVDs, headphones are OK, but the volume should be low enough that you can still hear what’s happening around you.

running with headphones photo
Flickr | francisco_osorio

Know Some Self-Defense Tactics

Some of the key moves that can come in handy in the event of an attack include using the palm of your hand, the “arm bar” (which involves blocking the attacker with your arm), kicking your own butt when grabbed from behind and going for your attacker’s eyes.

Consider A Running Buddy

There is truth to the old adage, “There’s safety in numbers.” If you prefer to run on your own, you can still get the benefit of running with a companion by bringing along your dog.

Adobe

Let Friends Keep Tabs On You

Before you go out for a run, it can be helpful to text a friend and let them know you’re headed out and when you plan to be back. If they don’t hear from you by the time were you expected to return, they’ll know you may be in danger. There are also apps such as MapMyRun that have a live-tracking feature so friends know exactly where you are in real-time.

Bring Pepper Spray

Pepper spray can be effective in warding off an attacker, but only if you know how to use it properly. To make sure you’ll be confident in your use when the need arises, you should practice first. You can do that by using a practice canister filled with water. Make sure you practice your aim as well as your escape.

pepper spray photo
Flickr | USACE HQ

[h/t: Good Morning America]

This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for other great tips and ideas to make the most out of life.