Staying cooped up at home for such a long time can take its toll on both your physical and mental health.
It’s even more of a tall order for outdoor enthusiasts who yearn to spend time exploring winding forest trails, hiking up mountains, or canoeing across crystal clear waters. But the good news is, outdoor activities are not off limits.
You’re much safer spending time outdoors than indoors. A recent study involving 1,245 confirmed positive cases in over 120 cities in China detected only two transmissions of the virus that happened outdoors. And while scientists are still looking deeper into how airborne droplets contribute to the spread of the virus, outdoor breezes prevent them from hanging in the air for long periods of time.
If you’re looking to spend some time outdoors, here are a few tips to keep in mind that will help keep you and others safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic:
Remember to always keep your distance
Walking, running, biking, hiking, or skiing are all allowed in most parts of the country. You are however, safer if you run by yourself or with another person, but only if you share a household with that person.
Try to always maintain a distance of at least six feet away from people you encounter, and remember to give proper notice whenever you need to pass someone so you don’t catch them off guard.
Avoid intense workouts
It’s not a good time to go for intense, lengthy, and potentially risky workouts such as trail running or long distance running or biking. These types of activities put you at risk, and can increase the likelihood of a hospital visit for reasons unrelated to the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, intense activities can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to the virus.
Check your local guidelines frequently
Some areas with a high amount of positive cases have closed down some of their parks and outdoor venues. Before you head out, it’s a good idea to do some research and get information on any possible park closures in your area.
You can visit the National Park Service website for updates on national park closures, or call local parks directly for information on health protocols in place. Keep in mind that rules and guidelines change frequently during this time, so it’s important to stay updated and well-informed whenever you leave your home.
Avoid crowded areas and be mindful about touching surfaces
Try to avoid visiting high traffic parks, trails, and jogging routes, or at least schedule your trip during non-peak hours. The reason for choosing uncrowded venues is pretty obvious – encountering less people will also decrease your risk of contracting the virus.
It also helps to be mindful about touching surfaces such as park benches, water fountains, restroom door handles, and trailhead railings, since these have likely been touched by numerous people throughout the day. That said, taking your kids to the playground during this time isn’t such a good idea.
To further minimize risk, bring your own water bottle and pack some snacks so you won’t have to stop by the store during your trip. Remember to avoid touching your face and wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer in case you come into contact with any surfaces outdoors.
Space out your trips outside
A great way to further minimize risk is to space out your trips away from home. This is because you’re putting yourself at risk of getting exposed to the coronavirus each time you venture out during the pandemic. Limiting how often you head out, whether it’s to exercise or buy things from the grocery.
If jogging, running, swimming, biking, or other outdoor activities are your favorite ways to stay fit, now might be a great time to incorporate indoor exercises like yoga or weightlifting into your fitness routine.
Make the most out of the situation
Good fitness plans involve working out the body while providing sufficient time to rest and recover. Most people focus solely on the first part, while ignoring the second part in hopes of getting results faster.
Now is the perfect time to enjoy rest and give your body more time to recover after you head outside to exercise. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to relax, spend more time with family, and plan your next outdoor adventure. Staying indoors for extended periods can be difficult, but you’ll get to appreciate each time you spend time outdoors.