Is it safe to get outside during the coronavirus? Yes, as long as you govern yourself accordingly.
Right now it’s important to practice social distancing to flatten the curve, but this doesn’t mean you can’t flatten some pavement or trails in the process. In fact it can be a great way to foil the anxiety of the current climate.
Dr Joseph M. Vinetz, MD, infectious diseases expert at Yale, confirms that exercising outdoors avoids many risks for covid infection: “It goes directly onto somebody else or onto a surface that people touch like door handles, guardrails or elevator buttons. But that’s not what you do when you jog.”
First off, it is crucial to be up-to-date on the latest medical and civic advice. Your trails may be closed, or your country might be on full lockdown! Regulations are changing rapidly.
Once you've confirmed that it's ok to lace up in your area, there are simple precautions to keep in mind. The World Health Organization offers advice for the public that includes additional preventive measures including breaking the common habit of touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. According to WHO’s website, hand washing isn’t enough because a virus can enter your body between washes if you habitually rub your eyes and touch your nose and mouth. So just make sure you’re smart about wiping runner’s sweat from your face during, and after, your next outing.
With all your research done, going solo is your best bet in terms of getting open-air exercise while flattening the curve, but remember to stay aware and safe and let someone know what your route will be and how long you expect to be out for.
Now, you don’t neccesarily have to go it alone. If your activity partner is a person lives with you, is asymptomatic, and keeps a metre distance from you, then there are few barriers to running or hiking together. Otherwise, social distancing is crucial. On the trails, on the roads -- keep at least six feet or twp metres away from fellow runners, hikers, cyclists. And bears. Maybe stay even further away from bears.
Also, keep it local. Dr. Long, associate professor of pathology and genomic medicine at the Academic Institute Houston Methodist, believes the safest places to be are your own backyard, your neighborhood, and a park (in that order): “Parks and things like that, I think you just have to be much more aware of the high touch surface areas.” So remember to avoid park washrooms and water fountains.
The takeaway here is to keep safe, play by the rules (and keep checking what those are as they change often), enjoy your run routine, and we’ll all get through this one in no time.