With coronavirus confinement and people being obliged to stay home, the great outdoors might be the best close thing to feel alive again. While governments are issuing and reminding all of us to stay at home, citizens can still go “responsibly” outside. In fact, connecting with trails, plants, and nature is important for our mental and physical health. Taking a walk each day can help stem off diseases.
With that being said, let’s check the tips in these crazy times while keeping our distance why not get close to nature.
Tip # 1 – Avoid crowded spots
Pick a place to walk where there aren’t too many other people. If you arrive at the parking lot of a hiking area that is packed with parked cars, you might want to try a different spot out instead. If you do an online search for a particular community’s municipal website, most have a link listing places to hike in that town. It’s a good time to try a new place you’ve never explored before. Also, this website, http://www.bluegreenadv.com/ offers ideas on places to hike.
Tip # 2 – Follow physical distancing guidelines
You should still practice distancing when out for a walk or a hike. This means staying at least 3 meters from other people and not gathering in groups. If you are however walking with either one person or a group of people who all live in your house, you can walk close together. But, if you have a walking buddy who doesn’t live in your house, you should practice physical distancing during your hike.
Granted, this makes holding a conversation challenging. But you can use headphones and call each other on your cellphones as you walk, and put your cellphones in a shirt or pants pocket as you talk. This will leave your hands free (to hold a water bottle if needed) and not make walking as cumbersome.
Tip # 3 – Stay away from things
Stay clear of things you encounter on your hike that you can touch, like fences, railings, sign posts, and gates. You only want to touch things you bring into the hiking area, like your backpack with the essentials like your walking stick.
Tip # 4 – Choose apparel wisely
You should choose clothes that pull sweat away from the skin and dry quickly. This can help make your body less susceptible to getting sick.
Quick-drying fabrics to look for include terms such as Dri-Fit and Supplex. If you are heading up high trails in which you experience drastic weather changes, wool can keep you dry and cool as well.
For walking and hiking, choose loose-fitting clothing rather than skin-tight clothing you would need for running and yoga.
Avoid cotton at this time. Cotton tends to absorb sweat and doesn’t dry as quickly.
Tip # 5 – The obvious stuff
Wash your hands before you go out and immediately when getting home. You should also keep some hand sanitizer in your bag and car to use after you finish your trail.
Carry a water bottle. You want to keep yourself as hydrated as possible to avoid getting sick. According to the Mayo Clinic, the adequate daily intake is approximately 15.5 cups of fluids for men and 11.5 cups of fluids for women each day. For walking and hiking less than an hour, water is all you need to drink.
Wear sunglasses as these will help you remember not to touch your face. You can also use the sun screen to do that and if you can, you should wear masks at all times.
Don’t stay in your hiking clothes. Change your clothes immediately upon returning home and put them in your laundry hamper rather than in your bedroom. The COVID-19 virus can live on objects for up to 72 hours. This means heading home immediately after a walk or a hike and not stopping for a burger at the drive-thru .
We also recommend taking off your shoes at the door and leaving them outside. This won’t allow you to bring any potential viruses back home.
Gaby W. Awad