Reports consistently show that outdoor recreation can help improve one’s physical and mental well-being, particularly during stressful, uncertain times such as the one we live in currently. Still, to follow CDC guidelines, you need to observe appropriate precautionary measures when outdoors. Most popular recreational activities can be done, provided you practice social distancing and limit the individuals in your group to your household (or whatever number has been deemed safe by your state’s ordinances).
Instead of venturing to that awesome park a couple hours away, keep it local and visit trails and green spaces close to home. If you spend a little time on local groups and boards, you’ll discover many new-to-you parks in your area. Keeping it local helps keep the spread of the virus minimal by minimizing your contact with others.
Avoid congested parking lots and trails.
Full parking lots mean full trails. With a crowd of people roaming around, it’s challenging (impossible) to practice social distancing. If you sight a jam-packed parking lot, consider the trail closed and move on to the next one.
Place enough distance between you and other trail users.
Once you find a trail that’s not densely packed, make sure that you place enough space between yourself and other hikers. It’s advisable to stay at least six feet away from other people who are coming from both directions. Be thoughtful and step off the trail for those coming your way.
It’s important to keep your dogs on leash. Aside from ensuring that your furry buddies stay within sight, it also avoids the issue of you running after them, and causing chaos in this fragile time.
Be conscious and cautious of what you’re touching.
When you’re outdoors, you share thousands of items with other people (who are potential carriers of the virus). As such, stay away from railings, benches, kiosks, public bathrooms, etc. It’s also a good practice to bring hand sanitizer. Hand washing would be ideal after blowing your nose, before/after eating, going to the bathroom, etc, but pretty darn hard to do when in a park!
Pack your trash out
While this habit was routinely observed before the pandemic, it is highly encouraged that people pack their trash out. Not only will it save the environment, but it will also spare those who keep our parks beautiful from getting the virus.
Stay fit and healthy despite the restrictions. Do more and be a responsible hiker by practicing these tips.
Do you have pandemic hiking tips of your own? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.