Tips to exercise outdoors safely this spring while keeping your distance

By Vanessa Racine, social media coordinator
Please visit our COVID‑19 resource page for the most current information about Red Cross programs, services and tips.
While Health Canada is telling Canadians to stay at home as much as possible, they also encourage you to “go outside to exercise but stay close to home.” So how do you enjoy being outdoors in a safe way? Here are our tips to make the most out of spring weather despite the social distancing measures imposed by COVID-19.

Keep your distance

When you’re outside, you should be practicing social distancing. That means keep a distance of at least 2 metres between you and others when you’re in public. Exercising in crowded areas is not a safe way to be active right now. Some outdoorsy ways to figure out what approximately 2 metres corresponds to:
  • 3 full-sized bike tires apart, or
  • Holding an adult ski pole out with your outstretched arm (if you could poke someone with it, they’re too close)
A pair of legs running down a tree-lined roadHeading outside solo (or with people you live with) is all good. Embrace a chance to be active with these household exercise buddies. Get your kids to bike alongside you as you run, grab your dog for a walk, or invite your roomie out for a bike ride. On narrow paths or sidewalks, respect other people’s space – remember that 2m distance rule – and avoid buzzing closely past.

Stay connected in other ways

While social distancing is a must, it doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected in other ways. If you’re a runner, pop in a single earbud to chat with your run buddies who are also running (but in other places). Many races, group rides and run crews are also creating virtual versions via Strava or Zwift.

Adapt your daily routine

If you live in a dense neighbourhood, you might need to adapt your daily routine and adjust your regular running paths or routes. Adapting your routine can also mean shifting the time you head outside, for example early mornings could be less busy in your area.

Love your local zone

As Health Canada recommends, keep your activity close to home. That said, close to home can still mean close to nature. Get to know the trees in your neighbourhood, the paths in your nearby park and notice the signs of spring unfurling around you.

Active body, healthy future

Some things are out of your control, but you can control your reactions and actions. Moving your body, eating healthy and resting are ways you can look after yourself. Plus, according to the Institut national de santé publique du Québec, exercise “reduces the time we spend dwelling on negative thoughts” – something many of us could use right now.
Use these tips to enjoy the outdoors safely: Walk your dog in a local park. Run around your neighborhood. Cycle a new loop in your town. Enjoy stretching outside. Above all, take care of yourself and each other.
To learn more about mental health, check out our online psychological first aid courses.
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