Tis the season for health resolutions. I am not making light of it. Trust! It tops every one of my goal/manifestation lists.
That said, I’m not blogging about the 9-10% who keep the resolution. This is coming from a slightly different angle. (I’m shady like that.) This is about workout etiquette. What to do when you get out there so you look like a fitness pro. Okay, maybe that’s not your goal, but at least you’re in the know.
In particular, let’s focus on walking path etiquette. Now the people in the N.E. of the USA are thinking, “It’s January in the Northeast. Who’s walking outdoors?”
Not only are they walking. They are running, bike riding, and taking advantage of the cool, low-to-no-humidity weather. Side note: Did you know that walking is one of the most popular exercise activities?
Maybe you have trails nearby or a sidewalk where you can do a quick 30-minute walk. You dress for the occasion and hit the trail with a group of friends. Right away, you notice the crowded lot and realize everyone else (mom, dad, kids, and dog) had the same idea.
You and your crew of four head out anyway. You walk shoulder to shoulder because you need to catch up on the holiday tea (gossip, the scoop). Five minutes into your walk, you notice single runners, walkers, and bikers bobbing, weaving, and excusing themselves to get around your group.
Ugh! You understand their needs, but what do they expect? It’s a public path.
After a thirty-minute interrupted walk, you think:
“Maybe I need to rethink this walking thing?”
“I’m sure it’s going to be crowded for the next few months. I’ll pause and start over when the new year crowd thins out.”
Etc. Etc. Etc. All the things that diverted from your goal in the past.
Bring it back and shift that!
Before you put your plan on pause, let’s look at walking path etiquette. Walkers are often the slowest trail users compared to bikers and joggers. That said, we simply to make room for each other. According to Miami Valley Trails, there are several ways we can share the path.
1. Walk on the right side of the trail.
Just like driving in the U.S., the slowest traffic stays to the right and others pass on the left.
2. Even two can be a crowd.
If you are part of a walking group of three or more, two max on the path. Now, if the road is pretty empty of course you’re going to walk together. The problem is walking shoulder to shoulder along a narrow path means bikers and runners sometimes stop to avoid running into you or bob and weave their way through your group to maintain their pace.
It may even place someone in an unsafe condition like having to walk or run against opposing traffic to get around the group. For three or more, be aware of how much space you’re using. Form a single line to allow others to pass.
3. Peep the scene
Pay attention to the road conditions and traffic. Is it a busy day? Don’t expect them to see you and course correct. For your own safety, look and listen for on-coming or opposing traffic.
4. Tune In
If you wear Bluetooth, pods, or any other type of earbuds or headphones, make sure you can still hear others on the trail. Bikers may have bells. They may yell, “on your left”. They may also speed up to get around you. Tuning in to your music at a low volume allows you to also tune in to your surroundings.
5. Bringing Your Furry Friend Along
Walking or running with your pet can be fun. They can also be your motivation when you start slacking. Take them to the path but make sure you monitor them. Too much slack in a leash (or no leash at all) will leave your furry friend vulnerable to oncoming traffic. It also prevents them from jumping on others or running off to chase other animals.
Lastly, pick up their waste. Besides tracking it to the car, it can also result in slippery conditions for others on the path.
If you’re reading this, most likely you are ready to tackle those fitness goals. Congratulations!
Find your path, your pace, and your purpose. Then, work your plan. Once you get on the path, be safe. Be you. Be intentional. While this is not an exhaustive list, I hope this helps in raising your awareness.
Now go tackle them, “New You” goals!