It’s okay to go outside.
You don’t have to feel guilty about heading out to hike, bike, or run. Exercise and time outdoors offers loads of benefits, including improving one’s mental health. Even though you’re outside, you still need to observe social distancing and avoid large groups of people. Remember to put a distance of six feet between you and the next hiker behind or in front of you.
Place distance between you and everyone else.
The recent speculation about catching COVID from passing runners and bikers has caused an uproar among some panicked people. But this theory has been mostly debunked by several studies stating that while coughs and sneezes can release aerosol particles in the air that reach as far as 26 feet, being in the open air and simply passing by others greatly reduces the risk of transmission. Unless you’re in close, extended contact with someone who has the virus, or touch contaminated surfaces, you’re all right. Just make sure that you don’t touch your face and wash your hands and clothes when you return home.
Avoid group hikes.
While running, biking, and hiking have received a thumbs up from authorities, using those activities to catch up with friends is a non-starter. Yes, it would be amazing to go to the park with friends for a walk or picnic; but doing so defeats the purpose of strict containment measures. Rather, ask the people you live with to join you for a walk.
Remember that passing another person on the trails doesn’t equate to you contacting the virus (unless that person coughs or sneezes directly on you), so good six feet of distance helps lower the risk of transmission.
Stay away from popular trails.
No matter how tempting it may be, visiting popular trails can expose you to large crowds (and expose the crowds to you). A huge group of people, even in open spaces, can create large areas of transmission. Seek out quieter spots with few hikers.
If the trail or park tends to get crowded at a certain time of day, head out during “off-peak” hours. If your favorite trail is busiest at 10 AM, opt for a late afternoon hike. Or if your neighborhood’s sidewalks are busiest after dinner, start your day with an early morning stroll.
Sheltering-in-place doesn’t have to be stressful. Armed with an understanding of the implemented protocols and social distancing guidelines can help us get through this situation.
We got this.