How to stay safe during outdoor activities – Cleveland Clinic


As restrictions relax, the pandemic is still not over. This means that we must always be careful in public spaces, including parks. It’s good to take a walk or hike outside in low traffic areas. But there are a few things you should keep in mind. Infectious Disease Specialist Frank Esper, MD explains what you need to know to stay safe before heading to your favorite park or trail.

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Social distancing is still in effect – even outdoors

We know that being outdoors is good for us. Nature and fresh air can help us relax and feel less stressed, which most of us could use!

“There is something to be said about hiding in our homes for such a long period of time and then seeing people walking around,” says Dr. Esper. “It’s nice to see people doing normal things like walking a dog, jogging, or just walking a baby.”

But as nice as it is to physically see people, it’s important to remember that the same social distancing rules you follow on the inside still apply on the outside. He is also encouraged to stay local if you can. Try to visit parks near you to limit travel and plan your outings carefully. Think about what places tend to get crowded and what times.

Family members or those living in the same household can stay near the park. But if you are walking or hiking with neighbors or friends, you will need to maintain a minimum of six feet. In addition, activities involving groups of people or physical contact (such as a football match or flag football) are prohibited. However, if you’re fully immunized, the CDC says indoor and outdoor activities pose minimal risk people who have been fully vaccinated.

“I’ve seen parks so crowded it’s almost like an amusement park where you have to line up to take the trail,” says Dr. Esper. “You’ll want to avoid being in a situation like this.”

If the park or trails seem to be too crowded and you can’t maintain a good social distance from others (or even find a parking space for that matter!), It’s wise to move on or find a other time to visit.

Before going to the park, make sure you have brought water and snacks to avoid having to stop by the store. Try not to use the public restroom and don’t touch your face while you are on the move. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after visiting a park or going out. It’s also a good idea to limit the surfaces you touch – from park benches to trail maps.

Consult official guidelines often

“In some areas where the virus cases are higher, they have closed parks just because there were too many people in too small an area,” says Dr Esper.

It’s a good idea to be aware of park closures and to do your research before you go. Some national parks, beaches and other outdoor spaces have been closed to maintain a safe level of social distancing. While in other areas, park entrance fees have been removed to encourage people to come out and do something rather than being locked in.

Before you go, your best bet is to check with your local health authorities either by looking online or by calling the park directly to see what the health guidelines are.

Keep in mind that things change quickly. It is important to keep abreast of best practices and guidelines in order to be well informed.

Running and cycling outdoors during coronavirus

Maybe you started running during the coronavirus outbreak or maybe you are a seasoned cyclist. No matter what your cardio career is, you might be wondering if you are putting other people at risk while you are out huffing and puffing.

The coronavirus is mainly spread by coughing and sneezing. And when somebody does that, it pushes out little droplets that can travel about six feet.

“When you run you might breathe hard, but you don’t really get that kind of force that can push the virus out so far,” says Dr. Esper. “While there might not be an exact science, the six foot rule applies to just about everyone in all situations – whether you are running, running or whatever. . ”

Other tips for runners and cyclists:

  • Choose your routes carefully to avoid high traffic areas.
  • Try to run or ride on sidewalks or trails and avoid busy roads to reduce the chance of an accident.
  • Be careful of the surfaces you touch when you are outside. For example, use your elbow to touch the crosswalk buttons instead of your hand.
  • Remember to bring your sports water bottle or bag of nuts with you so you don’t have to make an unnecessary refueling stop.
  • Always stay at least six feet from other people you may be passing, and be sure to give proper notice when passing so you don’t catch anyone off guard. (Since we all seem to be a little on our toes these days to begin with!)

So go ahead – walk the dog, ride a bike, or take the running trail you wanted to visit. Remember, we are still in a pandemic and you should always practice good social distancing, even outdoors.

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