As gyms and yoga studios close in response to the spread of COVID-19, people are left to find new ways to stay active and meet their fitness goals — away from crowds.
For people who are used to exercising in a group setting, this might be entirely new territory. Yet social distancing is one of the key measures people can take to slow the spread of the disease and stay safe. It’s important. But if you aren’t showing symptoms of the virus and have no reason to think you’ve been exposed, social distancing doesn’t mean you have to stay cooped up inside, sitting on your couch.
At a time when stress levels are high and maintaining good health is a top priority, committing to daily exercise is more important than ever. In addition to maintaining your overall fitness level, exercise causes you to release endorphins, which are chemicals in your brain that naturally fight pain and stress, and help you feel more positive and energized.
So here are some fun and creative ways to exercise while practicing social distancing.
Explore a local trail network
Public trails for activities such as hiking, skiing, biking and jogging can be found throughout the state. In fact, there may be more trails in your area than you think.
While you’ll usually enjoy plenty of personal space while on public trails, take care to give any other trail users wide berth. If the trailhead parking is crowded, consider visiting another trail.
Finding trails can be tricky, partly because they’re owned and maintained by such a variety of entities. One resource for finding trails is the BDN 1-Minute Adventure map, which provides information and videos on more than 300 trails throughout Maine.
Town-owned or city-owned trails and parks can often be found listed on the town’s or city’s official website. Also, most places in Maine have a local land trust, which is an organization that conserves land and often maintains trails for the public. You can search for land trusts by county at Maine Land Trust Network.
You may also be able to find trails at your area school or university. Some of Maine’s fish hatcheries even maintain trails. The list goes on and on. So go check out your area trails. Check them off a list, one by one. Get outside and get moving.
Get to know your local roads
Walking or jogging along the side of the road is one of the simplest ways to get outside and get some exercise. And as the weather warms, melting away the ice and snow, these routes are becoming a lot clearer and less slippery.
But don’t forget mud season. If you live on gravel roads, things might be a little messy out there, but it’s nothing a good pair of waterproof boots can’t handle.
This may be a more pleasant experience if you live on quiet roads. Also, remember to wear bright, reflective clothing and walk on the proper side of the road — against oncoming traffic. Also, give any other walkers or runners a wide berth.
Take your bike for a spin on paved surfaces
Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.
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