CareNow® - May 07, 2021

As the temperature outside continues to rise, now is a great time to start thinking about outdoor activities you and your family may want to take part in during the summer months.

While COVID-19 may have pushed many of us indoors for an extended period of time, the warmer months of summer offer up a great opportunity for you to step outside and enjoy the fresh air while remaining safe and socially distant. 

Being outdoors and in the sun also offers up the benefit of boosting Vitamin D production, which has been linked to things like improved immune system performance, reduced anxiety/depression and even potential weight loss benefits.

In this article, we will discuss a few different ideas to kickstart your summer. From workouts to social activities to summer vacations, here are some safe activities you should be sure to enjoy.

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Why Choose Outdoor Activities?

To better understand why outdoor activities can be a safer choice for you and your family, you need to understand how COVID-19 typically spreads. In general, you are most likely to catch the virus from the air you breathe as the COVID virus is commonly transmitted via respiratory droplets expelled from people around you. 

This means that distance and airflow are extremely effective tools when thinking about ways to reduce overall risk of transmission. Unlike outdoor activities, many indoor activities occur in enclosed spaces where airflow remains stagnant. This ultimately increases your chances of catching COVID-19. 

The high-risk nature of indoor activities was confirmed by a recent study that investigated how long COVID-19 would survive on various surfaces. The results found that the virus could survive in aerosol form for up to three hours. Unlike the indoors, the air outside is constantly moving. This movement of air aids in dispersing the potentially dangerous respiratory droplets. 

Many outdoor activities also allow plenty of space to be kept between people. Those respiratory droplets we just talked about are typically limited to a six-foot radius—a distance much easier kept outdoors. While simply being outside is not a guarantee that you won’t get sick, we do know that it’s generally lower for outdoor activities compared to indoors.

Low Risk Ways You Can Break a Sweat Outdoors

You should aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity daily. As cities, schools and businesses continue opening, you may be looking for ways to move some of your regular daily exercises outdoors in as safe a manner as possible.

While there is no practical way to guarantee 100% safety, taking your physical activities out of the gym or home and into the outdoors is generally considered safe. Here are a few great ways to burn calories outdoors.

  • Walking, running or hiking
  • Biking
  • Golfing
  • Recreational water activities like kayaking, surfing or paddle boarding
  • Swimming
  • Outdoor fitness classes, that allow you to be socially distanced

As always, common everyday safe practices are still important while you spend time outdoors. Be sure to avoid crowded sidewalks and narrow paths if they are crowded. Always have a mask with you and wear it when you can't maintain at least six feet from others.

If your activity is in the water, don't wear a mask, but be sure to keep your distance from others as much as possible.

Adapting Social Activities During COVID-19

Before the pandemic, 8.5% of U.S. adults reported being depressed. That number has risen to 27.8% over the course as our struggle with COVID-19 continues. One potentially helpful way to combat that depression is by increasing social interaction through safe activities outside.

In general, the closer in contact an activity brings you to others and the longer the duration of that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. This makes the likelihood of catching COVID-19 outdoors low, but it is not completely eliminated.

Here are a few great options:

  • Picnic in the park
  • Drive in movies or concerts
  • Outdoor farmers markets or arboretums
  • Camping
  • Restaurant patio dining
  • Barbeques or cookouts

If you have made the decision to attend a social event, keep in mind it is still recommended to wear masks if the area is crowded. Before you go out, be sure to pack items like masks, tissues, and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, if possible.

Summer Vacation Ideas You Can Enjoy During the Pandemic

While you may have chosen to forgo the traditional summer vacation in 2020, you were not alone. In fact, U.S. airline passenger volumes were 65% below pre-pandemic levels last year.

While air travel is generally considered safe if you take the proper precautions, it’s also important that you choose activities that limit exposure once you arrive at your destination as well.

Here are some great travel ideas if you are looking to partake in a vacation this summer.

  • Cross-country road trips in a car or recreational vehicle
  • Backpacking and camping in a state or national park
  • Mountain getaway in a remote cabin 
  • A trip to the ocean, lake or river
  • A trip to wine country to take in Napa Valley

No matter where you choose to go this summer, being prepared is immensely important. When you go, be sure to practice proper social-distancing measures and wear masks around strangers, indoors in public places and outdoors in crowds whenever you can. Doing so will help ensure you have a safe enjoyable trip.

During the summer months, spending time outdoors can be good for the mind, body and soul. If the proper precautions are taken, these outdoor activities can be enjoyed with minimal risk to you and your family. 

If you are thinking about traveling over the summer, be sure to check local regulations for COVID-19 testing prior to your arrival as certain travel destinations have implemented a 14-day quarantine requirement for all travelers. 

If you are in need of a COVID-19 test 72 hours before your flight, CareNow® offers rapid testing nationwide at select clinics throughout the United States. To see if your local CareNow® offers rapid testing, visit our website.

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Be sure to utilize the Web Check-In® feature before your visit to avoid the waiting room!

Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before

taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.