How to Safely Enjoy Nature

Sources: Outside Magazine

Many Americans have been sent home from work. Others have been ordered to practice social distancing to help prevent strain on our hospital systems. We’re being told to stay inside, but that can get boring very quickly. Many of us depend on spending our time outdoors. During global challenges, nature has often been seen as a safe place to retreat. Outdoor areas are crucial in that they can boost the immune system and reduce stress. Vitamin D from the sun increases the movement of white blood cells throughout the body. The effects of nature are needed now more than ever.

Unfortunately, many natural retreats have become overcrowded. State parks, national forests, and national parks have begun locking their gates. Local parks are no longer accessible for daily use. If your local government has ordered restrictions on common outdoor areas, we suggest you follow them. Medical professionals are still getting a grasp on how infectious this disease is. It is imperative that adhere to their guidelines on how to decrease your chance of exposure or transmission.

So how do you get your nature fix during this climate?  Officials recommend taking a walk around your neighborhood rather than a local park. People are less likely to congregate outside of local residences. Spring is also the perfect time to start a garden in your yard! Take this time to provide some extra TLC to your houseplants.

If your local trails are open- take precautions. Visit a trail or path that is generally less busy. Do not enter a crowded trailhead or parking lot. Rural or dirt roads might be the best option. These paths are often wider and ensure that you will be at a safe distance if you pass anyone on the trail. Practice the “look ahead” rule by adapting your route to minimize any contact with others on the trails. Stop off to the side and wait for them to pass to maintain that 2 m distance.

Regardless of your method, use all outdoor resources responsibly. We hope that you can find a way to get the benefits of nature during this beautiful spring season. The most important thing is that you take care of yourself and your loved ones! Stay safe out there.

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