How To Get Outdoors During the COVID-19 Pandemic
**Local advisories are changing by the hour, please check your local regulations before heading out.**
Although we’ve had to cancel many upcoming SOS Outreach events and program days due to the virus outbreak, we believe our mission of getting kids outside may be more crucial than ever. Although we may not be out in big groups together, gliding downhill, or sharing in the circle of love, we think getting outdoors and enjoying the fresh air is especially important during this strange and uncertain time.
There are many physical and mental benefits that come from spending time outside and getting physical activity. To list a few:
- Reduced stress: Just 20-30 minutes per day spent outdoors can significantly reduce stress levels. Plus, outdoor exercise gets the blood flowing and heart pumping, another way to lower stress levels.
- Increased happiness: Physical activity and exposure to natural light is shown to boost self-esteem and overall mood.
- Immune system boost: Spending time outside increases our levels of white blood cells, helping us fight off infections and diseases
- Vitamin D: Soak up the sun! It helps prevent heart disease and diabetes, and is GREAT for your bones!
Wondering how to safely enjoy the outdoors during this time? Here are some activities for you and your family that follow social distancing guidelines and still allow you to reap the benefits of the great outdoors.
- Go for a walk/hike/trail run/bike ride.
- Play in the snow/go sledding (if there’s still snow)
- Work outside while working from home.
- Read on your porch or deck.
- Eat meals outside when weather permits.
- Pick-up an outdoor hobby (photography, hiking, biking, outdoor yoga).
Before you go outside, please consider your impact in an effort to keep yourself (and others) safe and healthy:
- Check your local regulations for current best practices and advisories.
- Continue to practice social distancing, keeping at least 6 feet between you and others. Minimize exposure to others by going solo or only with the people in your household.
- Explore close to home and discover a new park or green space. This is not the time for long trips and venturing to new states or areas.
- Minimize your stops along your route, including for snacks and fuel. Try to pack everything you’ll need for your outing.
- Respect closures on public lands, parks, campgrounds, etc. These places are closed for a reason, and we must adhere to the rules for the safety of everyone.
- What’s the medical access for you and for locals in that area? Right now is not the time to travel to remote areas, small towns, or to be trying new tricks. Medical professionals are working hard right now and hospitals don’t need added patients, especially in rural areas where resources may be limited.
Get outside in a responsible way and start soaking up the healing properties of nature. We all need some of that right now. How are you getting outside while social distancing? Comment or share your story and tag @sosoutreach.
The SOS Outreach Family is here for you! Let’s support each other’s mental and physical health as we get through this together!