Health & Wellness

Get Out for a Walk—It’s Safe

The key is remembering to maintain social distancing

Photo: iStock/diane555.

While health officials across Canada have been urging people to stay inside and practice social distancing, that doesn’t mean they’re also recommending that you stop taking walks outside. Rather, the hope is that people continue to practice social distancing while going for walks or running essential errands.

Quebec’s director of public health, Dr. Horacio Arruda, recently encouraged people to “take nice walks in the forest” to calm their nerves. But how to do so safely?

Health Canada recommends staying two metres (6.5 feet), or two arms’ length, away from others and avoiding crowded places—which means you should turn around if you happen upon a crowd outside.

Since the virus can remain stable for two to three days on plastic and stainless steel, for 24 hours on cardboard, and for up to four hours on copper, it’s also important to avoid touching high-contact surfaces like picnic tables, park benches or railings. In the event you’ve touched a contaminated surface, you can reduce the risk of coming into contact with the virus by not touching your face.

When going out, go alone or with others already in your home. Don’t go out to meet a group of friends, or jog or bike with several others at a time. You can also pace yourself to help keep the right distance away from people. If you’re walking on a narrow sidewalk with someone else, you can create more distance from others passing your way by each walking single file.

After you return home, you should wash your hands for 20 seconds. If you wear gloves outside, make sure to wash them frequently.

For more on COVID-19 prevention, visit the Government of Canada’s coronavirus webpage.