By Skyler Stark-Ragsdale | Illustration by Xixi Qin
Cabin fever is not hard to come by these days. After a long day of Zoom meetings, bread making, and… well, whatever else you’re doing to occupy your inside time, you will inevitably start reminiscing on the days before the pandemic — when restaurants were hiring and bars were open; when streets were packed and you could pass within inches of your neighbor in the grocery store.
Yet, rightfully so, that is no longer possible. The global community has made a single-minded effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. As schools cancel, bars close, and the world moves indoors, you may start to crave a much-deserved break from your time staring at a screen or at the pages of your book. So, what kind of activities are safe to do while still socially distancing and respecting quarantine?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is important to stay as active as possible while in quarantine and socially distancing. They advise that individuals above the age of 18 strive to get 150 minutes of moderate exercise, or 75 minutes of intense exercise, per week. However, the WHO advises that those who do choose to leave their homes to exercise do so while taking certain precautions.
If you have a fever, are coughing, or show any other symptoms of COVID-19, the WHO advises that you stay home and follow the instructions of your local authorities. If you can leave for a bike ride or go for a walk, they ask that you do so while remaining physically distant from others. They say you should wash your hands before you leave, when you get to the area of the activity, and when you get back.
According to guidelines outlined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service for the Pike and San Isabel National Forests in Colorado, hiking, river use, and dispersed camping arestill allowed while developed recreational sites are closed. The USDA Forest Service advises that CDC precautions be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These precautions include staying six feet away from others, avoiding crowded parking lots, trails, and scenic overlooks, preparing for limited services, and preparing to pack out trash and human waste.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife notes that continued outdoor recreation, including fishing and hunting, is allowed according to Gov. Jared Polis’s Stay at Home order and to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Public Health order. They do advise, however, to “play it safe,” and avoid high risk activities, as First Responders and Search and Rescue teams are also undergoing challenges posed by COVID-19.
If your local parks and trails are closed, or if you feel more comfortable staying inside, the WHO also provides information on how to get your heart rate up while home. They suggest that adults climb up and down stairs as much as possible as a way to stay active. Household chores, they say, can also be a good form of exercise.
If you have the resources to do so, the WHO advises that joining an online exercise class can be another good option. If you don’t have weights to lift, they suggest that you use bottles of water to get your muscles firing. Making time for fun exercise, like dancing to music, is also a healthy way to get moving while remaining inside, according to the WHO.
So, whether you are doing some water-bottle curls in your living room, gardening in your backyard, or cautiously going for a walk or hike, health experts state that staying active is still an important part of all of our lives.