New restrictions are being rolled out every day to help slow the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, and it’s only a matter of time until almost everyone in the United States is affected by these measures. It’s important that you consider ways of staying active during these challenging times which is yet another way to keep yourself healthy and strong. In addition, implementing regular exercise is a way of adding much-needed routine back to your daily life. This guide will help you better understand the options that you have should you find yourself under a Shelter-in-Place scenario.
What are Stay at Home Restrictions?
The goal of these various personal restrictions is to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19 spread. Understanding the lockdown rules is an important first step. Different states and counties are issuing their own rules and it’s a good idea to check with local authorities to understand the current restrictions. Most of these rules are consistent with The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines but it’s important to see if your local area has any additional restrictions. These rules vary by name such as New York State’s New York State on PAUSE executive order, but most come in the form of Shelter in Place Orders being issued as an executive order by a State’s governor. Current Shelter in Place Orders usually contain the following rules and future states to implement orders are likely to contain similar rules:
- All Non-Essential businesses must be closed. Check your local government website for definition of Non-Essential as it varies by location
- Restaurants must be closed except for take-out and delivery
- All Gatherings of any number of people are prohibited
- All Non-Essential travel is prohibited. Check your local government website for definition of Non-Essential as it varies by location
- Some localities are implementing curfews. This usually limits nighttime and early morning travel
Can I even go outside?
Although the term Shelter in Place may sound like you have no choice but to spend all day indoors, the orders actually make various exceptions in regards to going outside. These exceptions to the lockdown rules require than you’re currently healthy and follow social distancing guidelines. Simply put, social distancing means not coming within 6 feet of any other person who you do not currently live with such as your family, roommates or romantic partner.
Can I go on a walk or run?
Going outside for a walk or run is perfectly acceptable as long as you keep 6 feet between yourself and others you come by. Additionally, certain states like California have begun closing popular trails as they ultimately became too congested with people.
What about my dog?
Taking the dog along with you on a walk is perfectly acceptable. It might take some extra effort to keep our four-legged friends to follow social distancing, but it’s definitely a good idea to stay on the safe side even with them as the CDC has confirmed that animals are capable of contracting Corona Virus and infecting humans.
Are team sports OK?
Since gatherings are prohibited, team sports are not allowed. Some authorities are also specifically mentioning that you should not play any sport where you and others and making contact with the same ball. Let’s face it, a game of soccer wouldn’t be much fun if you had to stay 6 feet apart from other players anyway. One exception: Many golf courses around the country are still open, but check with your local jurisdiction to see if this is allowed.
Is going on a hike allowed?
Yes actually, many public parks are remaining open and the National Park Service has issued their own guidelines. Be sure to plan ahead because certain public facilities inside of parks such as showers and bathrooms may not be open. With that said, it’s definitely a good idea to call ahead and make sure your destination is open.
Are playgrounds open?
Even though park closures aren’t prevalent, actual playgrounds are not a good idea as they have many surfaces which can become contaminated. The Santa Clara County Department of Health recommends: “While we encourage use of parks, we strongly discourage the use of playgrounds because they include high-touch surfaces and because it is typically not possible to maintain social distancing at playgrounds.” Many states, such as Ohio, have begun mandating the closure of all playgrounds.
How do I workout at home?
For those that were lucky enough to already have a home gym, this pandemic might not seem so bad. But for those that commonly use a (now-closed) public gym, facility closures can seem like a challenge. If you have the space and financial resources, consider setting up a simple home gym. For example, this can be done with an exercise bike, adjustable dumbbells, and a basic weight bench. If you’re considering this, act fast since popular items are selling out across the country.
For those without the space or financial means, fear not: There are tons of free resources for home workouts. In fact, well-known trainers and celebrities have come to the rescue with a ton of free at home exercise videos that can get you moving again. Here’s a popular one from YouTube to get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95846CBGU0M.
Where do I get more information on Coronavirus rules?
COVID-19 rules vary greatly from location to location. All States and U.S. Territories have set up dedicated websites for their local residents. CNN Health has a complete list of these useful government websites.