Outdoor activity etiquette for times of social distancing

    by Tianna G. Hansen

    During stressful times, spending time in nature can be a big part of your self-care. 

    Whether you enjoy hiking or going for a walk along the side of the road, it’s beneficial to be able to get this type of exercise during quarantine lockdown. 

    Try to avoid activities which might leave you in one place for an extended period of time, such as picnics. 

    Staying in motion and avoiding close interactions with others will help ensure your safety and that of others.

    This being said, it can help both mental and physical health to spend time in nature, and it’s a great idea to take advantage of this if you live in an area where it’s possible to maintain social distancing guidelines.

    Please refrain from using public trails or leaving the house if you or someone you know has been unwell. 

    If you’re in good health and looking to enjoy some fresh air, make sure you follow the following good practices while outside:

    • Avoid recreational activity in groups. Increase your distance from others and limit interactions with hikers or other people outdoors.
    • Use the bathroom at home. Many normally open restrooms may be closed.
    • Be safe and do not take unnecessary risks. 
    • Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly.
    • Don’t touch public services, such as benches or water fountains, unless necessary.
    • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after outdoor activities.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and face.
    • Cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with a tissue or flexed elbow.
    • If you are sick, stay home.

    Part of this list is adapted from information found on the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor website,

    If you’re looking for more information on ways to enjoy time outside while maintaining social distancing for your health and safety and that of others, find your local state park facility online and check for updates on trail usage and outdoor activities. 

    Stay safe and be well while getting your exercise! 

    If you’re not able to get outdoors, consider finding an at-home workout on YouTube, yoga practices as well as mindfulness and meditation can be beneficial for mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing, especially in times of stress.