Whether you plan to get your miles in at a local park or one of our many state parks or national forests, here are important tips for having a safe and enjoyable time…
- Everyone’s fitness level and ability is different. When choosing an activity, consider what kind of shape you are in, your level of mobility, and what you are comfortable doing.
- If you are uncertain about whether you should exercise or what kind of exercise you should undertake, talk with your doctor first.
- If you use a wheelchair, visit www.alabamarecreationtrails.org to find a trail or other facility that is accessible or call the administrator of the facility to ask.
- If you are not used to exercise, take it slow and build up to longer and harder exercise. Be patient, and you will see improvement!
- If you are currently inactive, consider taking a buddy with you to help you get started, and limit your exercise to 10 minutes at a time.
- Stretch before you start.
- Keep an eye on the time and make sure you can finish before dark.
- Listen to your body and don’t overdo it!
What to Wear & Bring
Regardless of your activity, be sure to:
- Bring plenty of water and drink it when you are thirsty. Be careful not to overheat!
- Bring high-energy, non-perishable snack items.
- Check the weather forecast and dress appropriately for the conditions. Layers are best for cold weather.
- Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
- Wear insect repellent.
- Wear appropriate, sturdy footwear.
- Plan your route and take a map with you.
- Let friends/family know where you are going and what route you will take.
If you are cycling…
- Always wear a helmet.
- Wearing elbow and knee pads, particularly if mountain biking.
- Wear reflective clothing and flashing LED lights and obey all traffic laws if road biking.
If you are paddling…
- Always wear a properly-fitted life jacket approved by the U. S. Coast Guard.
- Do not paddle during high water. Check online stream gages at https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt for flow data for your river or creek.
- Make sure stream flow is sufficient to get you to your take-out point before dark.
- Watch out for underwater obstacles and avoid fallen trees.
- Always paddle with a friend and plan ahead for how to shuttle back to your put-in.
- Do not trespass on private land adjacent to your river or creek.
If you are swimming…
- Always swim where there is a life guard on duty.
- Know your ability and limitations, and do not swim where you cannot stand up or reach land if you have difficulty.
If you are hiking…
- Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes with ankle support and good socks.
- Check for ticks after your hike.