Heading outdoors for some social distancing exercises

Tired of doing the same online workout routine in your living room? Wish you had a different view than the dashboard of your treadmill? Take your workout outside for some social distancing exercises!

As we’ve made our way through the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have seen our usual workout routines disrupted. Whether you’re a gym fanatic or love your twice-weekly Zumba classes, you’ve probably had to find different ways to stay active during the last year.

While we’re not as strictly limited to our homes as we were in the beginning of the pandemic, many of us are still sticking close to home as much as possible for safety reasons. This helps limit the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

But staying at home and maintaining social distance doesn’t mean you have to skip your workouts—or even worse, dread the workouts you’re doing. Take your exercise routine outdoors for a change of pace and scenery.

The benefits of outdoor exercise

There are some obvious benefits of exercising outdoors: fresh air, the sunshine, and an escape from the four walls of your house. But there are also some less-obvious benefits.

Did you know that exercising outdoors benefits both your physical and mental health? It’s true! Exposure to nature can help improve your mood, reduce your risk of depression, and enhance your self-esteem. Add exercise to the mix, and it’s a potent combination.

How to exercise outdoors safely

If you’re ready to move your workouts outdoors, you’ll want to be sure you’re staying safe during these social distancing exercises. These tips are a good place to begin:

  • Maintain social distance. Makes sense, right? Even when you’re exercising outdoors, you still need to keep your distance from others. That means maintaining at least six feet between yourself and others while you’re running, walking, or biking.
  • Wear a mask when you can’t distance. If you’re headed to a crowded space—or even a hiking trail that has the potential to get crowded—take your mask along. When you can’t keep ample distance between yourself and others, be sure to wear a mask (or two) over your nose and mouth. You should also follow city and regional guidelines and mask mandates; if a mandate calls for a mask outdoors, be sure to put one on.
  • Keep your workout group small. It’s still best to avoid large groups, so exercise solo or with other members of your household. If you want to do a socially distanced workout with others, be sure you’re somewhere that it’s possible to keep six feet between yourself and your workout buddies.
  • Think ahead. If you’re headed out for a run or a walk, pop a small alcohol-based hand sanitizer in your pocket in case you need a quick clean where soap and water aren’t available. Planning a workout in a park that has stationary exercise equipment? Take along disinfectant wipes to give the bars and handrails a good wipedown before and after use.

Our most important tip for your outdoor workout? Have fun! Exercise offers so many benefits for our minds and bodies, and it’s well worth the time invested.