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How to Exercise Safely Outside in the Dark

Because the sun is a dick and sets too damn early

Running around outside was the only thing keeping us from punching drywall in quarantine, and now that it gets dark in the early afternoon, tensions are surging. But while it may be kinda spooky, you can safely exercise in the shadows if you take proper precautions. Here are some tips on how to exercise in the dark…


Sure, you can exercise in the dark. But you can also exercise in the comfort and safety of your home. “My first tip would be to consider doing something inside, for safety,” says decorated personal trainer Jonathan Jordan. “But I’m a runner, and you can’t tell a runner not to run.” If you’re equally stubborn… 

Bring a Flashlight

A flashlight is the very least you should bring when working out under the moon (make sure to check the damn battery, though, before you head out). “The flashlight feature on my iPhone has become my best friend,” Jordan says. But something hands-free would be even better. “My partner and his pal hiked Half Dome this year and had to start at 4:30 a.m. in pitch-black. Their REI headlamps saved the day.”

Wear Reflective Gear

Cars are one of the biggest dangers when working out in the dark, so you want to make yourself as visible as possible. If you want to buy a bunch of fancy reflective gear, great. But this can also be as simple as avoiding dark colors and instead opting for radiant yellows, oranges, reds, greens and even just plain white, or simply adding reflective tape to clothes you already own. It may not be the most fashionable outfit, but these are the sacrifices you have to make when choosing to run around in the dark.

Be Aware

Again, cars are what you want to watch out for the most. Running against the flow of traffic allows you to watch everything coming your way so you can dodge if necessary. Biking with the flow of traffic prevents you from speeding toward drivers headed in the opposite direction, who have little time to react because of how fast bikes travel. You should also exercise without headphones, or keep the volume low.

Another danger you might run into if you wander off the roads and into the wilderness is a threatening animal. Mountain lions, snakes and other potentially dangerous creatures are most active at dawn and dusk, so it would be wise to bring a small canister of pepper spray if you suspect anything like that in your area. If you have a quarantine buddy, convincing them to tag along is a good idea, too.

Lastly, plan your route before you leave, and stay within your comfort zone. The last thing you want is to end up in an unfamiliar area without any light.

Now put on your headlamp and get to frolicking. Your drywall is getting worried.