There is so much uncertainty in the world and we are undoubtedly navigating uncharted territory. If you are like most people, you are probably home all day, except when you need to leave the house for essentials. If you used to workout frequently, where is all your pent-up energy going? Sure, there are workout apps and online fitness videos, but it’s nice to get out of the house for some much-needed fresh air.
Is it safe to leave the house for a walk or run? You bet your disposable gloves and cloth face masks it is (depending on the rules and regulations of your city, of course). Even though we have to practice social distancing, we are not quarantined or in recommended isolation. In fact, Daphne Scott, M.D., primary sports medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, advises that people go for a walk or run at least once a day. Aside from the physical benefits of engaging in cardiovascular exercise, being outside and exercising can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Will You Be Safe Running Outside?
Going for a solo walk/run is encouraged, but you should not congregate with others. That means that you should follow social distancing measures, maintaining a six-foot distance from others during your walk/run. If you want to meet up with people you know to exercise, resist hugging them and catch up from a distance while you walk/jog through the neighborhood. You don’t have to maintain distance with people you live with because you already inhabit the same living space.
Avoid Crowded Areas
Some trails or more densely populated areas may have more joggers or walkers because people want to get out of their homes and exercise just as much as you do. Going for a jog in a crowded area means that you increase your risk of encountering people with COVID-19. You don’t want to jog near them; instead, run in less crowded areas and don’t go to running “hot spots.”
Do You Need To Wear A Mask While Running?
CDC guidelines have encouraged people to wear masks at essential businesses, where social distancing is hard to maintain (e.g. banks, pharmacies, and grocery stores). Some states have suggested that people wear cloth face coverings when they go out in public as another preventative measure. Look, we are in a very serious situation, but it can be pretty difficult to intake the air you need while running if you are wearing a mask. The purpose of the mask is to protect others, and you can wear a moisture-wicking face mask while running, if you so please, while maintaining a six-foot distance from others. It is ultimately your decision to wear or not wear a mask when you run. The main takeaway is to keep your distance from others.
If you are running and see someone coming towards you, you don’t have to freak out and frantically sprint across the street (there are cars!). Maintain your distance by jogging around a parked car when you approach the oncoming person. Give the person a wave or say “hi” as you pass them. We don’t have to fear people because of the coronavirus. And as always, wash your hands upon returning home from your run, even if you didn’t touch any surfaces while running.