Exercising Outdoors Amid Coronavirus Outbreak: Is It Still Safe?

Amid the raging coronavirus pandemic, one of the biggest questions that people ask is if it’s okay to still go outside to exercise, which is commonly answered by one simple phrase: keep moving.

Exercising Amid Lockdown

One of the biggest concerns of people that are encouraged to stay inside their homes for an extended period of time is to whether they are still allowed to go outside to have some physical exercise or it’s safe to do so. Exercise, after all, helps maintain good physical and mental health, both of which are important during this quarantine. Thankfully, the answer to both questions listed above is yes. With that in mind, there are still rules that these movers have to follow.

In fact, exercising is encouraged outside because it has less risk of infection than doing it inside.

"That's due to a variety of factors. Usually there's a lot more social distancing outside. And environmental factors like wind and UV [radiation, which degrades most viruses] make it less likely you're going to come in contact with viral particles," Dr. Kevin Winthrop, a professor of Infectious Diseases in Epidemiology and Public Health at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, said.

This is because a lot of exercises can be done while maintainig at least 6-foot social distance, such as biking, jogging, running or power-walking. There’s also hiking, although going with a small group is recommended since that 6 feet can shrink to almost nothing while on narrow trails.

"I think the risk is extremely low in those situations. Of course if someone coughs on you right when you're passing them then there'd be risk. If you find yourself in that position where you have to pass someone on a trail, standing aside and giving as much [room] as possible, not coughing or sneezing while that person's going by, would be greatly appreciated," Winthrop added.

But if your area is too crowded, then you may opt to move your activities indoors, where you can be alone. It can even be as simple as a yoga mat and a phone with an exercise app.

Walking Exercise Health experts recommend that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise or both every week to stay healthy. Pixabay