By: Bree Redwine

Taking a walk or going for a run outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic can be a saving grace for you and your physical, mental health. But in a time when we’re all supposed to stay inside, it might seem ironic that more people are gathering in outdoor spaces to run, walk, and workout. 

So can exercising outdoors put you or those around you at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19?

The answer is somewhat complicated.

Covid-19 spreads through respiratory drops from an infected person who coughs, sneezes, or talks. There’s also new evidence that suggests that asymptomatic people can spread the virus, although the answers are not entirely known. For these reasons, it’s essential to maintain a social distance from other people and wear a cloth face covering when you’re in public.

Give Runners More Distance!

The Social Distancing guidelines are to stay six feet from other people to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, some researchers say for runners, 12-20 feet is better distance.

*For example, a recent research model suggests that respiratory droplets from runners may spread 33 to 65 feet depending on the speed.) 

Wear Facial Mask!

Wear facial coverings. While face coverings can be downright uncomfortable and dorky looking- you should still wear them to prevent spreading the infection to other people. Even if you feel fine, you could be an asymptomatic carrier.

Run Solo, But Be Smart!

Ideally, you should run alone, but that may not feel safe for some people in certain areas. In that case, it’s okay to run with your roommate/partner because they’re not a risk.

Bring hydration on your runs; water fountains are off during this time. Make sure you tell someone where you are running, the route, the time and the distance, and to check in after you have finished. Using apps such as Strava is a great way to run virtually with your friends, or you can talk to them on the phone during your run.

Bring a cell phone and have a road ID on you. It’s always smart to buy some mace for protection and wear vibrant colors and reflectivity. 

Are you wearing headphones? If you do make sure you can hear someone say your name, so you are aware of your surroundings.

Oh, The Places You Can Run That You Normally Wouldn’t!

Parking outdoor garages, they’re empty right now, and this is a great workout. I run in a 5 level parking garage, and the benefits I’m seeing are tremendous. They also have stairs, so that can be an additional boost to your run routine. 

Country Running, lace up your shoes, and see nature.

Run Your Hood, learn your neighborhood for real. Run every block, and take pictures of fun random things.

All-in-all be smart, be safe, look, listen, and have fun while running. 

“It’s my own space, my own time when I’m just out there letting my thoughts go. It’s part of my day like eating, and it’s one of my favorite parts.” – Louise Kent