With working from home and staying in as much as possible the new norm, no wonder we are yearning to get outside to enjoy some fresh air. These restrictions are particularly tough if you’re an avid runner, biker or walker. As most states have opened up to some capacity, you still need to use caution —and common sense — if you decide to venture outdoors and get some exercise.
No one is going to contest that exercise is good for you. It improve cardiovascular health; helps you maintain a healthy weight and can stave off diseases like hypertension and diabetes. At this time, there has been no correlation between exercise and resistance to COVID-19, but exercise boosts the immune system, which is a strong defense against contracting illnesses in general.
Before you venture out, check with you local government’s rules about social distancing and which parks and trails are open. Even if the park you want to visit is open, services will probably be limited. Expect public restrooms to be closed, and there will be no access to water fountains or concession stands. Plan your outing accordingly.
Before you even leave your home, if you are not feeling well, stay home. It’s not worth the risk to yourself or others. If you absolutely must get out to get some fresh air and new scenery, limit it to your yard or balcony.
Wear a mask. A mask might seem like a real barrier to breathing and getting the most from your outdoor exercise session, but it’s important. Respiratory droplets from runners and bikers can actually travel impressive distances, which puts others at risk. Wear the type of mask that you can easily move down from your face in case you need to wipe your face or take a drink of water.
When you get to the park or trailhead, if the parking lot is crowded, that’s a good indication that the trail is going to be crowded. With many people working from home, or not working at all, parks and trails may be busier during “non-traditional” times of day. That’s why it’s helpful to have an alternative destination in mind, just in case.
As you head towards the trail or into the park, avoid touching banisters and any playground or stationary exercise equipment, like what is found along a circuit course. Consider those contaminated and stay away. If you are on a city street, the same goes for buttons on stop lights.
Infectious disease experts recommend participating in outdoor exercise alone, but if you are in a group, spread out. Maintain the minimum social distance of six feet. If you are passing slower walkers, announce your presence and let them know you’re going around them. An unwritten rule is to let the people going uphill have the right-of-way.
Be patient with others. Everybody is going through a tough time right now and displaying an outburst of temper does no good. If you are on the receiving end of somebody else’s wrath, ignore them and move on. Obviously, if you are seriously threatened in any way, call the police. Don’t depend on park patrol to intervene. At this time, a lot of government and local employees have been laid off or furloughed.
General rules of safety and common sense prevail during a pandemic. Avoid being out at night where you are more vulnerable to being hit by traffic or violence, and if you are out running or biking after dark, wear reflective clothing – and let somebody knew where you’re going and when you expect to return. Carry your phone with you but leave the earphones at home. You need to have all of your senses on alert. Stick to well-lighted paths; if you are on a trail, don’t venture off into remote areas.
Once you get home, disinfect your gear and wash and sanitize your hands. Drink some water; eat a snack — do whatever you typically do after an exercise session. You can congratulate yourself for being proactive about your health and safeguarding the health of others by wearing a mask and social distancing. Protecting yourself and others while exercising outdoors promotes goodwill and sets a good example for others. Remember that we’re all in pandemic survival mode together.
At Vision Communities, we are proud of our active communities and hope our residents stay safe and smart during this trying time. We take pride in the communities that we build and want our residents to feel the same way. We’ll take care of the maintenance of the facilities and your apartment as needs arise. With apartment communities near Clintonville, Downtown Columbus, and Westerville, Vision Communities has the floor plan and amenities that you are looking for. To learn more, browse our Central Ohio communities and find the right floor plan for you and your family.