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Safety after dark: exercising at night

Emily Simpson

With the end of daylight savings, we no longer have the luxury of exercising in the sunlight after work.

Vitamin D is not the only thing we’ll be missing out on – a lack of daylight makes it harder to feel safe whilst exercising outside. Instead of being turned off completely, consider these tips for staying safe in the dark.

Safety in numbers

Exercising with others is sometimes a more desirable option than going solo due to a greater sense of motivation and solidarity, however, it becomes increasingly appealing when safety becomes a factor. Find reliable running or cycling buddies who you can exercise with at night-time.

Light it up

If you’re exercising outside in the dark, whether it be along a road or otherwise, it makes sense to make yourself visible – especially to cars. If you’re riding a bike, attach lights to your bicycle and wear a reflective vest. It may also be a good idea to wear a reflective vest while running, or alternatively, invest in some leggings with reflective panels as part of their design- given the popularity of ‘athleisure’, these shouldn’t be too hard to find.

Early riser

The thought of getting up at 6am on a frosty Winter’s morning may give you shudders, however, there’s a lot to gain from forcing yourself out the door and into the cold air. Whilst it’s important to be prepared with decent gloves, beanie and a scarf, the temporary discomfort felt during a cold morning run could be the invigorating start you need to your day, and it means you don’t need to exercise in the dark.

Hi-vis vibes

There are some places where it’s just safer to exercise at night. Opt for places that are well-lit and are popular among other people exercising at night time. In Canberra, the ‘bridge-to-bridge’ run around the lake is fairly well lit and is often frequented by night-time runners and cyclists.

Watch your step

When the sun sets, your risk of injury rises. In poorly lit areas, there’s a greater chance that you’ll trip and suffer a fall. Stay safe by keeping to footpaths, watching out for obstructions and again, keeping to well-lit areas. You can also purchase headlamps which illuminate your path and alert your presence to others.

Make yourself known

If you are opting to run or cycle in the dark, then make your movements predictable for other road users. If you’re running, do so against the traffic so that both parties are aware of the other, and if you’re cycling, ride with the traffic. Whilst we’re mostly aware of these basics, it’s easy to become lax!


Emily Simpson

Emily is a fourth year Arts/Laws student at the Australian National University. When she’s not studying, which is most of the time, she’s hanging out with friends, drinking coffee, frequenting bakeries in the search for finger buns and vegemite scrolls, or playing sports. Gradually getting closer to the end of her five-year degree, Emily is still trying to figure out exactly what she wants to do ‘when she grows up’, with potential career paths in either law or something related to writing. For now, though, she’s enjoying soaking up the Canberra lifestyle! Emily also writes at More about the Author

  • Katie

    One more tip I have for this, take the dog…. creepy guys cross the road when they see a huge german shepherd coming their way.