Running outside in your running shoes is a great way of managing stress from all the happenings around the world (hello, endorphins!) Running isn’t the same as it was a few years ago. There are some precautions you should take if you plan to run outside in the face of COVID-19. To put it another way, you must run safely if you plan to run outdoors in the midst of COVID-19. How do you do this? Let’s take a look at some must-know tips.
Social distancing can be one of the best defenses against COVID-19 spreading. While you may be familiar with the six-foot rule, it is important to keep a greater distance when running.
New research published in the New York Times revealed that runners and brisk walkers may leave behind a trail that can carry the virus 15 feet or more.
The results of this research have not been peer-reviewed. This means that further investigation and confirmation is needed. In the current climate, it is better to be safe than sorry. So, when running, make sure to practice social distancing. Also, plan to keep at least 15 feet from others.
Dr. Alex McDonald, a San Bernardino family physician who is also a specialist in sports medicine, says that “Staying more than six feet apart and not exercising behind an individual are probably good habits and ways of reducing potential exposure to COVID-19.”
Do not touch anything
There are many things that you could touch during a normal run. You might touch the buttons at crosswalks to cross the street, or use a park bench to tie your shoes. Your new rule of thumb for running is: Keep your hands off of others.
COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for as little as a few hours or as long, depending on the material. You could become infected if you touch a crosswalk button, park bench, or other surface that has the virus a few hours, or even days, before you.
Avoid touching surfaces while out running.
When running in public, wear a mask
The CDC recommends that masks be worn in public places. Andrew Roszak (executive director of the Institute for Childhood Preparedness), has more than 20 years experience in emergency preparedness at all levels. Droplets can form when you cough, sneeze or speak. By keeping these droplets close to your body, the mask helps prevent them from spreading into the air.
Running requires you to wear a mask. McDonald’s says that exercise can cause viral shedding to increase due to deeper and labored breathing. A mask can help to reduce viral spread.
It may take some time for you to become comfortable with wearing a mask while running. You can start with shorter runs to get used to the mask. There are several ways to make it more comfortable. While wearing a mask …[, I recommend that you start with a lower exertion and light exercise. Then, gradually increase your time and exertion over time.
Run on secluded routes
There are ways to avoid wearing a mask while running. A mask may not be necessary if you are running in quiet areas and you don’t run into anyone else.
Roszak says that the primary purpose of a mask was to stop the wearer spreading the virus to others. Roszak says that if you are exercising outdoors alone, there is no need to wear a mask because there are no other people around.
You don’t have to wear a mask if you are running alone or not exposed to others. You should always keep a mask on you in case you meet other runners on the route.
Don’t wear shoes.
Running shoes are essential for running. After your run, you might want to consider leaving your shoes at home. Recent research has shown that COVID-19 can still be carried on shoes, but that does not mean that they are a common source. If you want to be safe after a run or jog, remove your shoes before entering your home. This will reduce the chance of the virus spreading through your shoes. After taking off your shoes, wash your hands.
If you feel under the weather, skip the run
Running can be a great way for you to remain healthy, happy and sane in these difficult times. However, if you feel ill, skip the run and stay home.
This is particularly important if you have severe flu-like symptoms. McDonald’s says that if symptoms are below the neck (such as fevers, bodyaches, deep coughs, or shortness in breath), then you should not exercise.
Are you feeling unwell? Fitbit users can book a virtual doctor’s appointment with the PlushCare team from their Fitbit app. This will allow them to get the care they need, while still being at home. Find out more information about the COVID-19 resource tab.
Here are the basics of running safely during COVID-19 Fitbit.
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