Those who love the great outdoors and being active in general must be having a hard time during the COVID-19 crisis. There have been so many limitations to what we can do, not just socially but even physically. When before, we could easily play social and contact sports, now we have to abide by gathering restrictions and limitations.
But physical distancing recommendations shouldn’t preclude us from pursuing sports, activities, and hobbies that we could enjoy. There are still a lot of alternatives that won’t necessarily endanger our health and that of others. If you’re mourning the loss of being able to play contact sports and currently on the lookout for activities you can start as one of your 2021 resolutions, here are some sports and hobbies that won’t have you interacting face-to-face with people you don’t live with, and how you can mitigate the risk of being infected and infecting others while doing these activities.
Now that winter is coming up, there’s no reason to cancel that trip to the ski resort. Experts say that skiing poses a low risk of infection since it doesn’t require people to interact closely, almost everyone will be wearing masks and goggles, and it’s an activity that’s done outdoors and in wide, open spaces. Of course, there will always be risks whenever we choose to leave our homes, but skiing is one of the activities that aren’t as risky as, say, other contact sports.
As long as you practice minimal public health standards like keeping your mask on, not touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for no less than 20 seconds, and keep a distance of at least six feet from others, skiing should be fine. Keep a hand sanitizer with 70% alcohol with you at all times, too. At the same time, ski resorts will be implementing stricter guidelines, like limiting indoor dining, so it would be good for skiers to abide by their rules.
The same rules apply to hiking; it’s not an overly social activity, and it’s done outdoors. With many of America’s national parks and forests re-opening, you can consider taking a solo drive and going on a hike in one of these trails when spring and summer come. Not only will solo hiking be beneficial to your physical health, but you might also be doing your mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being a world of favors.
But as always, be ready to abide by the state’s COVID-19 health guidelines. Don’t endanger the locals by not wearing your mask and interacting too closely with them. Play it by ear, as well. Observe if there will be hoards of people flocking to the national park you’re planning to visit, and if there is a lot, consider postponing your trip for when the pandemic is over or when the number of cases is significantly lower.
Another sport, activity, or hobby you can look into that won’t pose a risk to your health are motorsports or car racing. Like many events worldwide, car racing tournaments don’t allow live audiences to watch, and many of them also limit the number of staff and participants. If you’ve always been into cars and have always wanted to try competitive racing, now is the time to look into it. Research on motorsports events and tournaments in your state, and consult with an auto mechanic to know if your car is up to par for this activity. As always, safety is king—and it’s prudent to consult with a professional to make sure your vehicle is enough to handle motorsports and if it can protect you should an accident take place.
Fly-fishing a great pandemic sport because it’s already a sport that has normalized physical distancing. There is no proof that the novel coronavirus can live in water. It is a fairly affordable sport, you can consume and sell your catch, and it can be a bonding activity for the whole family. There are a lot of idyllic places to fly-fish in the U.S.; check what’s available in your state and make sure to practice every possible safety measure before you go. Make sure you’re not sick so as not to endanger the fly-fishing shop owners, and even if you’re not sick, keep a distance from them anyway.
Life Goes On
If we are to survive this pandemic physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy, then we need to be able to live in the tension of acknowledging how dangerous this virus is and why and how to be careful while at the same time not allowing it to stop us from living our lives. So explore that outdoor activity—but be responsible and protect yourself and others.