The CDC maintains that social distancing will be our best weapon against the spread of COVID-19. However, it’s important for both adults and children to be able to get outside and be active. During the shelter-at-home orders in our areas, individuals are able to go outside to get exercise, provided they practice social distancing.
The best way to get outdoors safely is to find a space that is large enough to allow social distancing from others, such as a trail, large field, or park. Be sure to check with your local municipality regarding park closures. Currently in New Jersey, all state and county parks are closed by executive order of the Governor, but some municipal parks remain open.
Avoid small parks or playgrounds and playground equipment. Remember that anything that another person may have touched should be considered a potential source of infection. If you touch any surface, you should wash your hands or use hand sanitizer, with at least 60% alcohol content, afterward and do not touch your face.
Social distancing requires at least six feet of space between you and others. The CDC cautions that when COVID-19 is spreading in your area, you should limit close contact with individuals outside of your household, even in outdoor spaces. However, you can still enjoy the outdoors in large and open spaces.
“Staying active and getting outdoors can help you stay mentally and physically healthy,” says Courtney A. Budd, PT, MSPT, CSCS, PES, Physical Therapist at Cooper. “Getting outside for a walk during the day is highly recommended. Consider going a walk around your neighborhood. If you are physically able, try to maintain the recommended 10,000 steps per day,” she explains.
Families can take walks together. Plan a nature scavenger hunt, or look for inspirational signage throughout your neighborhood. In addition to walking, bike rides are a good way to enjoy the outdoors. To bike safely, remember to ride solo or limit the ride to the members of your household. Try timing your rides to when your route will be less crowded.
This is a constantly evolving situation, and every day we’re learning new information that can help you to avoid potential infection. Exercise is a critical component to good health. So get outside and exercise while practicing social distancing. Stay safe and healthy.
For more information about Cooper’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit cooperhealth.org/covid19.