Tips for getting outside during the coronavirus pandemic
COVID-19 (AKA coronavirus) is proving to have a major global impact, with large cities on quarantine and businesses closing, including ski areas in both Colorado and New Mexico.
We keep hearing about quarantine and social distancing, and it’s difficult for outdoor enthusiasts to grasp. We want to travel. We want to be outside. We don’t want to get stuck in our houses for weeks at a time.
We get restless.
However, it’s important to slow down and think about your actions and how they impact those around you. Sure, you might not exhibit symptoms of the coronavirus; but you might be carrying the virus while not even knowing it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that symptoms include shortness of breath, fever and cough, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
The best way to maintain an active lifestyle is to stay close to home and take the proper precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Here are a few tips for getting outside and maintaining an active lifestyle.
Avoid the Temptation to Travel
It’s easy to want to escape to the outdoors and head to your favorite adventure spot, especially with desert season upon us. However, traveling increases the likelihood of spreading the virus.
National parks and communities like Moab, Utah, are experiencing a high influx of visitors who all had the same idea to escape to the outdoors — especially with Spring Break and ski areas closing. These areas become crowded, making it easier for the virus to travel and spread exponentially.
Think of all the places you stop along a road trip: gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants. While Colorado Governor Jared Polis has ordered for the closure of bars, restaurants, theaters, gymnasiums and casinos, other states have not yet implemented these actions, leaving their public places susceptible to the virus.
Even if you choose to fill up on gas and groceries prior to skipping town, it’s important to think practically during this time. What if you are out climbing or mountain biking in a remote area and have an accident? Medical and emergency staff are needed elsewhere. Hospitals are filling up with coronavirus victims, and many of the towns close to our favorite recreational spots are not prepared for an outbreak. Add on other medical emergencies, and the hospitals will quickly exceed their patient threshold.
Enjoy Local Trails
Your best bet is to cancel your plans, skip the travel and stay close to home. It’s not what people want to hear, but it’s the best way to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Local trails remain open, and a little fresh air is good for the mind, body and soul.
Chances are, you’re not the only one who has the idea to hit the trail for a hike, run or ride. If you choose to go out, be cognizant of your surroundings and those around you. Practice social distancing, and try to maintain at least 6 feet between you and other trail users.
Tread Lightly in the Mountains
With ski areas closed, it’s tempting to hit the backcountry. But with backcountry travel comes heightened risks, especially for those with no experience. If you are inexperienced in the backcountry — whether you are skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing or snowmobiling — travel with someone who knows the lay of the land and what to look for in the current conditions.
For updated information on current avalanche conditions, visit the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
If your local ski area is closed and does not allow uphill travel, please respect their rules and regulations. They have these rules set in place with your safety being the primary concern.
Other Outdoor Activities
Hit the river. Fly fishing is an excellent way to get outside while practicing safe, social distancing. With spring runoff season quickly approaching, you will want to get out now and enjoy as many days on the river as you can.
Check out the local crag. Rock climbing requires a belay partner though, so just make sure to maintain your distance.
Continue to Practice Healthy Habits
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face. If you have to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth — even when outside. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
And if you do feel sick, stay at home!
Stuck at Home? No Prob!
This is a great opportunity to bring your focus within and try something new:
- Begin a yoga practice; meditate
- Plan an indoor workout routine
- Call or video chat a friend or family member you haven’t talked to in a while
- Plant a garden
- Pick up a book
- Write in a journal
- Learn how to play an instrument
- Make art
And of course, during these tough times, don’t forget to love your adventure pup.