While walking outdoors, it is important to keep your safety in mind in order to have a positive and safe walking experience. Below are some tips and reminders for how to stay safe during your walk, in Carleton Place or anywhere! Whether you are walking alone or with others, keep these considerations in mind.

Before you head out on your walk:

  • Bring a cell phone along in case of emergency
  • Invest in a good pair of supportive walking shoes
  • When crossing at a courtesy walk, remember: it is not mandatory for cars to stop at courtesy walks. You still need to look both ways and make sure nothing is coming before crossing
  • Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back
  • Make sure your route is safe before you try it and be aware of any potential hazards (large holes/cracks in sidewalk, boulders on trails, crossing heavy traffic lanes, icy sidewalks, narrow or eroding shoulders, etc.).
  • If you do not often participate in physical activity, review the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire which will help you determine if you need to check with a healthcare provider before becoming more active
  • Bring a first aid kit with you, or at least a few band aids
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal for two hours before being active
  • Bring a healthy portable snack like a piece of fruit for walks longer than one hour
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear for the season and weather conditions
  • Wear reflective gear and carry a flashlight if walking at night or early morning or inclement/overcast weather
  • In cold weather, wear a scarf around your mouth and nose and try walking downwind at a slower pace to avoid windburn
  • Be sun savvy – wear a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen of at least SPF 30+
  • Know the location and phone numbers of emergency services in the area
  • Carry your identification card in case of an accident or medical emergency
  • Go slow and steady

During your walk:

  • Where there are no sidewalks or trails, face traffic while you walk – be alert
  • Drink water before, during and after your walk to stay hydrated
  • Warm up at the start of the walk by walking slower and cool down by walking slower at the end of the walk
  • Walk at a comfortable pace

Use Caution:

  • Avoid being overly active when it is extremely hot, cold or humid. Walk during a time of day that limits UV exposure and hot temperatures
  • Avoid being active if you have an acute illness (flu or bronchitis)
  • Call 911 in the event of an emergency

Stop immediately if you experience:

  • Faintness, lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Discomfort in the upper body including the chest, arm, neck or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Discomfort in bone or joints during the walk

Know the warning signs

The warning signs of heart attack include:

  • Chest discomfort (uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness);
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body (neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back);
  • Shortness of breath;
  • Sweating;
  • Nausea, and;
  • Lightheadedness

The warning signs of a stroke include:

  • Weakness
  • Trouble speaking
  • Vision problems
  • Sudden and severe headache
  • Dizziness

Stroke can be treated. That is why it is so important to recognize and respond to the warning signs.

If you experience any warning signs of a heart attack or stroke, or in the Event of any Emergency, you should:

  1. Have a group member call 911, describe the location and situation
  2. Have the walker stop the activity and sit down
  3. Help them get warm and comfortable, and loosen any tight-fitting clothing
  4. Wait with the person until the emergency team arrives. Provide all information

– See more at: Heart & Stroke Walk About