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Green Tips: Enjoying the Outdoors Responsibly and Safely

Green Tips | June 11, 2020

You may have reduced your physical activity due to quarantine, but you can still exercise safely outdoors. Going for a run or hike can be a great way to get moving while social distancing. It’s important to get some fresh air and spend time outdoors. Studies have found that spending just 20 minutes in nature reduces stress, and experts report that getting outdoors improves overall mood and well being. Check out our tips below for spending time outdoors safely during these unique and challenging times. 

Check Official Guidelines First

Some parks have closed down in areas with higher numbers of cases. Check your local and state parks department websites for updates about park and trail closings. Some department websites will offer alternatives. 

Bring Your Own Food and Drinks

Stores can be crowded and have long lines. Plan ahead to limit your contact with other people by bringing your own food and water. 

Best Hiking Practices

To prevent spreading or catching COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends staying at least six feet away from non-family members. When hiking on trails there are a few practices you can follow in order to protect yourself and others:

  • Wear a face mask 
  • Bring your own trash bags
  • Opt for less populated trails
  • Call out to hikers that you’d like to pass
  • Use trails that are wider to allow for easier passing 
  • Do not touch your face and limit using public restrooms

Limiting Tick and Mosquito Exposure

If you’re visiting a park with a lot of vegetation, make sure to take precautionary measures against ticks and mosquitoes. While there is no evidence that mosquitoes can transmit COVID-19, they can spread other diseases like West Nile virus. Ticks can also transmit Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and other infections. Here are a few recommendations for protecting yourself from mosquitoes and ticks:

  • Use repellents with 15-30% DEET
  • Wear long sleeves and pants 
  • Wear light colors to better spot ticks
  • Stay in the middle of trails if possible 
  • Pay attention to signage about ticks
  • Check your skin as soon as you return home

Getting Outside in the Neighborhood

You don’t need to travel to a park or forest to enjoy the outdoors. Here are a few tips to stay safe while enjoying your neighborhood responsibly:

  • Wear a face covering or mask
  • Maintain six feet between you and others
  • Jog or bike safely in the street to avoid crowded sidewalks 
  • Use your elbow to press crosswalk buttons
  • Avoid playgrounds at this time
  • Avoid playing contact sports like soccer, football, or basketball

We hope you find these tips helpful for your next outing! It’s easy and very possible to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and safely, so get outside when you can. Your body and mind will thank you for it. 

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