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With the weather cooling off, now is a great time to return to outdoor exercise.  Here are some tips on running safely.

…start off SLOW.
Walking is a good way to warm up. It also helps you lower the exertion level, which conserves resources for the end of your workout and reduces heat build-up.

…wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing.
Loose-fitting clothes allow heat to escape. Try not to wear cotton clothing while running. There are several different synthetic materials that will wick some of the perspiration away from your skin, which reduces chafing and helps the body cool faster.

…drink cold water.
Cold water leaves the stomach of a runner quicker than any type of fluid. In addition, it produces a slight physiological cooling effect and an even greater psychological cooling effect.

…cool down.
Five to 10 minutes of light jogging/walking will slowly decrease body temperature and remove waste products from the working muscles. Also, stretching can be an appropriate way to cool down as it helps the muscles to relax and increase their range of movement.

…be ALERT!
Do not wear anything with headphones such as a Walkman or portable CD player. You will not be able to hear cars. Survival on our roads depends on being able to hear cars coming up from behind, around the corner ahead or just over the hill.

…wear a hat in warm weather.
Keep your head cool. Up to 70% of your body heat is lost through the top of your head. Also, it helps to regularly pour water over your head. Remember, wearing a hat can keep the heat from being released through the best vent you have, the top of your head.

…eat a big meal.
Eating heavy meals that are high in protein or fat may put extra stress on your system when you exercise. As an alternative to big meals, try eating light, easily digestible snacks every hour or two.

…run in the dark.
Whether you are male or female this is a bad idea. You can easily not see things such as trash, a root or a rock sitting on the path where you are running, and then you trip over it and injure yourself. Also, particularly if you are not wearing reflective clothing, it is hard for cars to see you. If you still want to run in the dark after this warning, make sure you are wearing reflective clothing, don't run alone, and bring a cell phone or whistle in case you fall and need help.

For more helpful tips with running, check out this article.