With the spread of COVID-19 maintaining good mental well-being during isolation is very important. As parks and gyms have closed finding ways to be more physically active can be harder than normal. Here are a few ways to manage stress, stay active and practice social distancing during COVID-19.
Walking is one of the most available tools for navigating our physical, emotional, and communal health in the face of our current situation. With the closing of parks, fitness centers and other recreational facilities walking and safe places to walk are needed more than ever. Using our sidewalks is one of the few ways we can continue to be active and manage stress. Walking is an easy enjoyable way for us to become more physically active and for communities to improve healthy living. Walking has many benefits such as environmental, economic and societal benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are many health benefits of walking: weight control, cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, stronger bones and muscles, improves mental health and mood, reduces risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Remember to practice safety measures before starting your walk:
- Wear mask when you are out.
- Practice social distancing to stay 6 feet from everyone who does not live with you. Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands, hugging or high-fives.
- Maintain distance from others when walking
- Avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces that are often touched such as handrails and benches.
Here are some creative ways to take your walk to the next level:
- Take pictures. During your walk take pictures of nature and make a scrapbook.
- Go on a bug hunt. Take a magnifying glass and look for ants, spiders, beetles or any other bugs you see on your walk. Google bug hunt card to help identify.
- Make a leaf impression. Bring a bag and collect different types of leaves. When you get home paint your leaves and have a nature inspired piece of art.
- Gather Treasure. A walk is a great way to gather free art supplies. Go out and gather treasures then go home and create something special.
- Turn your walk into an obstacle course. Jump over cracks in the sidewalk, run to the next stop sign then stop. These are all fun ways to turn a simple walk into fun.
- Walk to run an errand or get necessities as allowed by the current guidelines in your local area.
- Schedule a daily walk into your work-from-home agenda.
- Working from home plug in your headphones and turn a conference call into a walking meeting.
- Consider a Scavenger hunt with the kids. Write a list of things to find during your walk.
- Stay current. While outdoor spaces can be a great way to get out of your house and expand your environment, be sure to check how your local government is managing parks and trails during this time since some may be closed to protect workers and prevent the spread of disease.