Getting outside for exercise and fresh air can be a saving grace in the era of sheltering in place. However, it can also be a challenge in highly populated areas to maintain proper social distancing while on walks and runs.
Photos posted on social media have shown large crowds of people in places like Piedmont Park and on Atlanta’s Eastside Beltline Trail.
However, experts say there are proper ways to enjoy a walk or run while also protecting yourself and those around you amid the coronavirus outbreak. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before lacing up your sneakers and heading out the door.
Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech, told NPR that runners should consider keeping even more than the CDC recommended 6 feet of distance. Marr suggests runners try to maintain at least 10-12 feet between them and others.
She said that’s because running could potentially increase your likelihood of spreading the virus, should you be infected.
“If you’re running and you happen to be infected, you might release more virus into the air than if you’re walking because you’re breathing harder,” she told NPR.
Marr says its best to always run alone.
In Atlanta, officials are encouraging folks to get outside at different times than they may be used to, especially in high-traffic areas like the Beltline.
On social media, the Beltline asked people to avoid the trail at peak hours.
“Do us all a favor and avoid peak hours if you have to get out on the trail. Before 9:45 a.m. and after 7 p.m. may be less enticing, but it’s a whole lot safer ... for you and the rest of us,” the post reads.
When it comes to staying safe on your walks and runs, changing up your routine may help keep you safe. Try getting up early to run at less popular times or take a route that will be less populated.