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A guide to socially responsible running during COVID-19

How to exercise while practising social distancing


As Canadians practise social distancing, many are wondering what activity, if any, is safe to be doing during this time. Experts are saying that running, walking and hiking are all considered socially responsible exercise outlets, and are in fact encouraging getting outside for the mental, as well as physical health benefits. If you’re a runner who’s looking for some tips, here are a few ways you can make your run more socially responsible.

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Run alone or with someone who lives with you

Social distancing means limiting contact with people who don’t live with you. Lots of runners are doing their runs solo, but if your roommates, partner or family are looking to get some exercise, encourage them to come with you. If your partner isn’t into running, encourage them to bike slowly alongside you. Please avoid group runs.

Please no snot rockets

Runners, please stop snot rocketing. Bring a tissue or wait until you’re home to blow your nose, but limit the mid-trail spreading of germs.

Give other runners their space

There are more runners on the trails than usual, as it’s one of the few viable forms of exercise right now. With that in mind, try to run on quiet trails, and when you see runners, give them their space (at least six feet, or two metres).

Ditch the extremely hard workouts

Steve Magness is a performance coach and author who reminds runners who are training during the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid going “to the well” in training. The “well” describes an extremely hard workout that can leave someone in an immune-depleted state. Magness also reminds runners to continue to fuel the calories they burn while working out, as a calorie deficit can also limit recovery.

Avoid touching crosswalk buttons

Traffic is low right now, so you shouldn’t have to wait very long to cross the street. Unless you’re bringing hand sanitizer on your run, try not to touch any crosswalk buttons, as the probability of touching your face soon after is high. Avoid the risk and wait for traffic to clear.

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