Those that are not sick, under any restrictions, or mandatory self-quarantines are taking it to the streets – walking as a form of exercise, stress relief, or even to just walk the dog. Social distancing in the outdoors however can still be challenging.
You are encouraged to walk solo. Always look ahead for other walkers, runners, or cyclists and pace yourself to keep a safe distance between yourself and others on the street or sidewalk. Try to time your walks for when you know your planned route will be less crowded. You should also try and walk during daylight hours to be visible to other walkers, vehicle traffic, or other roadway dangers.
Social distancing is new to many of us. When walking, we just need to practice kindness, consideration, and patience. If someone is coming, you may need to move over onto the grass or into a driveway to give space until they pass. If you are on a narrow walkway, you could turn your face away until they pass or wait for them to pass, then proceed forward. Letting the person know your wishes goes a long way when you do it with a friendly smile or hello. Most people understand that we are in unusual circumstances.
While walking seems harmless and is a good form of exercise, we want to remind you that there are still environmental and physical dangers that can turn a good walk into a hospital or doctor’s office visit. It is important to be vigilant and undistracted while walking. Put your phone away. Watch for defective or dangerous conditions on sidewalks – uneven pavement, broken ground, and slippery surfaces. It is also important to watch for potholes and other tripping hazards, like bicycles or scooters laying on the ground.
Walkers should wear a good pair of walking shoes and use sunglasses to reduce the glare of the sun. Walkers should be visible and wear bright colored clothing and carry a flashlight, if walking at night. Walkers should walk in well-lit areas. Walkers should use sidewalks, crosswalks, and follow the rules of the road and traffic signals. Walkers should also watch for cars entering, exiting, or backing out of driveways.
Many hospitals across the country are overwhelmed by Coronavirus cases, let’s follow safe walking practices to avoid a preventable fall and a trip to the hospital or doctor’s office.