It’s important to always keep your wits about you and observe safety practices when walking, hiking, or jogging around the neighbourhood to keep fit. When in these situations, you may find yourself more vulnerable to road and criminal threats, as you don’t have the added security of your car and are often alone.

Here are a few tips on what to keep on you to ward off threats and protect yourself:

Wear clothes that are highly visible

This may be an obvious one, but it’s important that you do so and not only if you’re active in the evening or at night. Wearing visible clothing during early morning and daytime runs makes you much more visible to other road users, such as motorists and cyclists.

READ MORE: Fitness inspiration: Sbahle Mpisane

Leave the earphones at home

You need  to be alert to what’s happening in your surroundings, so loud music and earphones represent a problem. If your playlist is essential to your walk or run, rather keep the volume as low as possible or keep one ear free.

Invest in a lightweight rucksack

A fanny pack or lightweight rucksack you can effortlessly carry with you will allow you to keep items such as a whistle and pepper spray, along with your water bottles and keys.

READ MORE: Getting back into your fitness routine after a long lay-off

Use your phone to download safety apps

If you keep your cellphone on you while running, make use of safety apps you can download onto your device. There are a wide range of these available for iOS and Android phones, such as Kitestring, which periodically checks on you when you’ve entered a high-risk area, and sends a customised message to your pre-selected list of emergency contacts when you don’t respond, or bSafe, which turns your phone into a siren and shares your GPS location with emergency contacts at the touch of a button if you’re able to reach your phone in an emergency.

Switch up your routes

Lastly, if you’re unable to run in a group or a highly visible area, do some research on various safe routes and alternate between them so your patterns are not predictable.