BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Many would agree that one of the most relaxing and enjoyable ways to stay fit is to take a daily walk.

In fact, a 2021 article in the New York Times indicated that walking for only ten minutes a day can lead to a longer life.

So, it’s no wonder a number of locals can be seen walking along Baton Rouge’s LSU Lakes, BREC trails, or even on sidewalks in neighborhoods or main thoroughfares.

That said, over the years there have been incidents of alleged attackers targeting individuals who exercise along these areas.

So, what can a person do to stay safe while exercising outdoors?

Five suggestions from experts who contribute to sites such as Very Well Fit and Optisafe are listed below.

1/ If possible, walk with a friend and tell others where you’re going

People who walk in pairs or groups are typically less appealing to criminals.

In addition to this, before heading out, it’s best to let friends or family members know what path you’ll be taking as well as what time you expect to be back home.

To make things easier, you can always turn on your phone’s GPS and have someone track you.

2/ Avoid secluded paths in favor of populated areas

According to Women Against Crime, it’s best to exercise in popular places with lots of foot traffic. More secluded areas with lots trees or boulders are easy places for potential attackers to hide.

But if a walker prefers these secluded paths, it may be best to take them on with a group of exercise buddies. Doing so while alone can make a walker an easy target.

3/ Avoid blasting music in earbuds or headphones

It may be more fun to exercise to your favorite playlist, but Very Well Fit advises doing so with safety precautions in mind.

In other words, don’t blast music so loudly that you can’t hear a nearby car horn or the heavy footsteps of a person running towards you.

The article suggests, “Keep the volume at a level where you can still hear bike bells and warnings from other walkers and runners. If you’re using ear buds, wear only one so you can hear your surroundings. Your audiologist will also thank you.”

4/ Bring your keys, phone, and a whistle

Though you may want to travel light while exercising, many experts advise bringing your phone, your keys, and as silly as you may feel doing so- carrying a whistle.

Why? Well, if you find yourself in a dangerous situation, you can use your phone to contact authorities and blow the whistle to both summon help and scare off a potential attacker.

In addition to this, instead of leaving your home unlocked, it’s best to lock up and bring your keys with you.

Those keys can also double as a means of defense should worst come to worst. Along those lines, some experts suggest, “Your keys can act as your weapon when in need by stabbing or attacking in the face or eyes.”

5/ If you see someone suspicious, trust your instincts and leave the area

Sometimes we avoid our instincts in favor of “being polite” or “trying not to make assumptions.”

But, if you feel unsafe or see someone coming towards you who makes you uncomfortable, there’s nothing wrong with leaving your walking route and going into a nearby store or other public building to avoid them.

Hopefully, one or more of the tips above can be of assistance to locals who want to enjoy safe workouts.