Walking Safely

Walking Safely

Is it safe for me to begin walking?

You should check with your doctor before starting a walking program if: you feel physical symptoms while walking (chest or other pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, fainting, etc.), are over 40 and are inactive, have a chronic condition (like heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.). Learn more at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/walking-step-right-direction

Crossing the street

Always cross at a crosswalk and remember to look left- right- left before crossing! Distracted drivers are a danger to pedestrians even if you have the right of way. Learn more at https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/pedestrian-safety

Proper attire

Remember to wear athletic shoes and dress weather appropriate to reduce your risk of injury while outdoors! Learn more at https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/finding-the-right-fitness-shoes-and-clothes/

Sun safety

Sunburns are painful and dangerous, and unprotected sun exposure increases your risk of skin cancer. Aim for SPF 15 or above and apply 30 minutes before going into the sun. UV rays are dangerous to your eyesight as well, remember to wear sunglasses! Hats, light weight and light colored long sleeves, sunglasses, and umbrellas can reduce your exposure to harmful sun rays! Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm

Extreme heat and weather related pet safety

High temperatures are common during the summer in Northeast Oregon; this can be dangerous for people and pets!

Try to avoid walking during the hottest part of the day and avoid walking long distances in temperatures high temperatures. Exercising in extreme temperatures or heavy exertion in heat can lead to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Stay cool and hydrated during high temperatures and seek medical attention immediately (call 911) if you believe you have heat stroke. Seek medical attention if you have symptoms of heat exhaustion that worsen, last for longer than 1 hour, or cause vomiting.

Some signs of heat stroke: high body temperature (at or above 103 degrees), headache, skin has red flush, strong and rapid pulse, dizziness, nausea, confusion, passing out. Some signs of heat exhaustion: sweating heavily, skin is cold/clammy/pale, pulse that is weak and fast, tiredness/weakness, passing out. To learn more information about heat related illness and the full signs and symptoms visit https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html

To learn more about staying safe in hot weather, visit https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html

Just like you, pets can become overheated, and should not be walked in extreme heat. Remember to bring water for furry friends while walking during the summer and check the temperature of the pavement before leaving the house. If you place your hand on the street or sidewalk and cannot stand the temperature for more than a few seconds, it is too hot for animal paws! Learn more at https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/hot-weather-safety-tips

Bad weather

High winds, lightning, rain, snow, and extreme temperatures can create dangerous and deadly situations. Check the weather forecast before going on a trail and learn more about weather safety at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/index.html


Dehydration can be deadly, remember to bring more than enough water with you on long walks. Learn more at

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html and https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html

Ice/Cold Temperatures

When temperatures are below freezing, remember that ice may be present, and plan your walks accordingly. There are various shoes and shoe accessories designed to make walking on ice safer, but icy conditions always present a risk for falling. Research your options and discuss your risks and options with your healthcare provider. Cold weather also presents the possibility of hypothermia and frostbite when outside for extended periods in cold weather. Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.html


Northeast Oregon is flush with beautiful wildlife of several varieties. That also means you may come into contact with wild animals when you are out on a trail. Never approach or feed wildlife and keep pets on a leash. This will help to keep yourself, your pets, and our wildlife safe. More safety guidelines based on wildlife species can be found at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/.

Protecting yourself from bugs

Insects like ticks and mosquitoes can carry diseases like Lime Disease and West Nile Virus. When out on the trails remember to wear insect repellant, cover skin as much as possible to prevent bites, and stick to the path to avoid brushing against tall grass and foliage. Visit these pages for more information https://www.cdc.gov/features/stopmosquitoes/index.html and https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html

General safety, be aware of your surroundings!

When out on the trails be aware of your surroundings! Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return; there will be someone checking on you in the event that you become lost or injured on a trail. If you are on a trail and see a situation that you believe threatens your safety or the safety of others, please call the appropriate contact- whether law enforcement, animal control, or other another agency.


  1. Patient Information


  1. Centers for Disease Control. “Sun Safety,” April 24, 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm.

  2. “Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness,” September 1, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/warning.html.

  3. “Mosquito Bites.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 22, 2019. http://www.cdc.gov/features/stopmosquitoes/.

  4. “Prevent Hypothermia & Frostbite,” August 2, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.html.

  5. “Preventing Tick Bites.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, January 10, 2019. https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/avoid/on_people.html.

  6. “Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness,” June 19, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/heattips.html.

  7. “Hot Weather Safety Tips.” ASPCA, 2019. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/hot-weather-safety-tips.

  8. National Institute on Aging and Health. “Finding the Right Fitness Shoes and Clothes.” Go4Life, June 20, 2018. https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/finding-the-right-fitness-shoes-and-clothes/.

  9. “ODFW Living with Wildlife.” Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Accessed May 1, 2019. https://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/living_with/.

  10. U.S. Department of Transportation. “Pedestrian Safety.” Text. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, September 9, 2016. https://www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/pedestrian-safety.

  11. National Institutes of Health. “Walking: A Step in the Right Direction.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/walking-step-right-direction.