Danny Weiss, PharmD, is from Western Maryland, but relocated to South Dakota to pursue his PharmD from South Dakota State University. Danny has been with DAKOTACARE for 5 years, and previously worked in long-term care and retail pharmacy. When not working, Danny enjoys outdoors activities including archery, hunting, bowfishing, running, and keeping up with his wife Sarah and beagle Snoopy.
As we engage in exercise activities, all aspects of our preferred sport have elevated with technology. Whether it’s the shoes we wear, the clothing that keeps us comfortable, the tech gadgets that keep us listening to our favorite music, measuring our performance, or monitoring vital statistics, technology is in every part of our sport of choice.
One key aspect we may overlook is safety. Along with evolutions in performance and comfort, we have many new and innovative options that can keep us safe when we hit the parks, trails, roads, rivers, and lakes in our effort to find health and recreation.
For those of us who take to roads and trails riding, walking, hiking or running, it is common place to see us carry minimal supplies in an effort to maintain comfort. For most of us, that involves leaving our wallet or purse behind. While most of the items in our wallet have minimal value for a normal excursion, one piece is vital for our own safety. How would first responders or the hospital contact your loved ones in the event of an accident or other emergency? If your answer is “I don’t know”, perhaps it is time to start your safety plan.
Several tools are available from low-tech to high tech. In the most simple low tech solution, one can attach a home-made tag to the base of their shoe laces similar to chip timers from various race events. The tag should have your name, allergies, medical alerts and an updated contact person including phone number. Given the conditions most of us endure when exercising; it is critical to waterproof this tag! For those less likely to “craft” their own, several companies make similar devices. Recently I was given my first Run-ID bracelet. Some of these products are designed to fit right onto various “cause” bracelets that were initially made popular by LiveStrong foundation. This laser etched piece of aluminum does a great job delivering key information about you for that emergency situation.
For those of us who have incorporated smart phone applications into our exercise, you should do a few things. First, be sure you have “In Case of Emergency” or “ICE” as a contact on your phone. This will allow responders to contact your key persons in the event of an emergency, any emergency. Second, we can choose from any number of free applications that can help us remain safe on the roads and trails. One such application that I stumbled upon is a free application from a manufacturer of a road identification bracelet. This application has the ability to monitor your progress during a workout, and allows others (that you select) to monitor your progress as well as your exact location using the GPS feature of your phone. If you stop moving for more than 5 minutes, the application automatically texts your preselected contacts to indicate there may be a problem.
While these applications help us to keep safe while we enjoy the nicer warm weather, other advancements help us to maintain activity in the longer nights of winter. There are several manufacturers of safety lighting for runners and bicyclists alike. In fact some running garments have lights incorporated into the clothing itself. While I can’t speak for all, most have thought of the need to wash sweaty exercise clothes, so the electronic parts easily disconnect for washing and drying.
As we become more active, it is important to consider safety. The key benefits of exercise is a longer life, let’s not allow our active lifestyle to threaten that!