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Enjoying outside responsibly while protecting those around you during social distancing.

NOTE: These suggestions for exercising outdoors during coronavirus are that only: suggestions. Always check with your state and local government orders before traveling anywhere during the COVID-19 outbreak, even a park in the next neighborhood over.

With U.S. residents under orders to stay at home to help flatten the curve of the COVID-19, people are asking if it’s OK to go outside for activities like hiking, running or biking? In many cases, public health officials say the answer is yes—as long as you’re not sick, adhere to local orders, practice social distancing and common sense. Mandatory stay-at-home orders often allow exceptions for engaging in activities outdoors, generally close to home, like walking your dog, riding a bike or going on a run. Whatever you do outside, practice social distancing, which means keep at least 6 feet away from others to avoid contracting or spreading the virus, the CDC says.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 is thought to spread easily and mainly person to person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet);
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

For example, if you’re running a few feet behind someone on a windy day and they turn and sneeze, that sneeze could land on you. You just have to be smart about it and take the environment into account.” New York state guidelines, for example, allow for outdoor recreation, though “individuals should … avoid activities where they come in close contact with other people.” California officials say residents “can walk, run, hike and bike in their local neighborhoods as long as they continue to practice social distancing of 6 feet.” But they specifically tell people to avoid crowded trails and parking lots.

"I am encouraging people to get outside in this time of social distancing, but being smart about it," says Dr. Sean O’Leary, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Infectious Diseases and a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Six tips to get outside while social distancing:

Check specific guidelines in your community.
First and foremost, understand the rules for where you live. Guidelines and trail closures, are changing rapidly. The following information was accurate at the time of publication but may have since changed, so please double check with your local public health agency and public land managers for the latest information. For example:
 California, New York, Oregon, Illinois, New Jersey, Washington and other states that have issued mandatory orders for residents to stay at home, have made certain exceptions for engaging in outdoor activities such as walking, running or biking as long as people maintain social distancing.

Florida, Oregon and other communities have shuttered parks, trails or other recreation areas to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the crowds seen in recent days that have made social distancing difficult. Federal officials have closed Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains and other national parks.

Stay local, avoid crowded places

Some states or communities have closed parks, trails and campgrounds and discouraged people from traveling to popular recreation spots. However, if one follows the CDC guidelines, its still possible to get a dose of fresh air close to home by exploring open spaces in your own community.

Be responsible and avoid popular parks that typically attract a lot of people. Crowded parking lots, beach access points or trailheads make it hard to stay 6 feet from others. Also, it’s important to remember, traveling to recreational spots could mean stopping for gas or bathroom breaks along the way, potentially putting you and others in those communities at risk. So again, it’s best to use common sense and stay close to home.

Go solo (or only with your household)
Although adhering to the CDC’s social distancing guidelines means group hikes or playing team sports are out, in many cases, you may still have the freedom to explore your local wild trails alone or take a solo bike ride around your neighborhood.

"Outdoor recreation is a solitary recreational exercise," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday in announcing his state’s restrictions. "It’s running. It's hiking. It's not playing basketball with five other people."

"If you have no medical reason not to exercise and are not sick including with mild (upper respiratory infection) symptoms, then yes you should definitely exercise," says Dr. Mark Harrast, a sports medicine physician and medical director of the Sports Medicine Center at the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium.

Practice excellent hygiene
Before, during and after spending time outdoors, follow CDC guidelines to protect yourself from COVID-19, including washing your hands often and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Avoid touching surfaces and touching your face while out. Do not touch park benches, pull-up bars,
 park bathroom sinks and buttons for crosswalks with your hands.
  • Carry hand sanitizer with you.
  • Avoid drinking from public water fountains.
  • Wash your hands when you get home.

Exercise at less popular times
Avoid times outdoors when typically lot’s of people are out. Best times are early morning or later in the evening when roads or paths are empty. The National Recreation and Park Association recommends: "Warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass to allow proper distance and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times."

Don’t linger
Getting exercise outside is often considered an essential activity under these orders, the idea is to stay at home as much as possible—not to plan a day outing.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday acknowledged the need to get outside and get exercise, but he urged people to keep it short. “It’s absolutely normal and human to want to get outside, get a little bit of exercise. But I remind you the pause is all about social distancing. It’s all about protecting ourselves and our families and each other,” de Blasio said during a press briefing Sunday. “When we say you can go out for some exercise, we’re not saying you can make a day of it. We’re saying go out, get a minimum amount of exercise, get what you need and go back indoors.”

Getting outside can be as simple as taking a stroll alone or with your family around your neighborhood. “At this time, walking is a wonderful exercise that people can do safely outside as long as you can stay 6 feet from others,” says Dr. Rosenberg.  “Physical activity has innumerable health benefits including when performed outdoors,” she says. “It improves mood, reduces anxiety, improves cardiovascular health and supports functional health. You also can have a chance to smile and wave at your neighbors from a safe distance.”

Additional Reading:
What exactly is ‘social distancing?’ Hint: You are allowed to go outside. - UCHealth
How to spend time outside while social distancing - REI Co-Op
Exercising outside during self quarantine: The do's and don'ts - CNET
What you need to know about exercising outdoors during the coronavirus outbreak - John Meyer, The Denver Post

More from one of our founders at Keola.

Hi, my name is Dave Hardy and I am one of the co-founders and partners in Keola Life LLC. I live in Lake Tahoe (Nevada side) with my wife, Donna and 2 Chocolate Labradors, Cass and Bear. When I am not running my business I love to spend time with my grandkids and 4 adult daughters. My passions are being outdoors, enjoying LIVE Music, and riding my Harley Davidson in the beautiful mountains we are blessed to call home.

IMG_2828I was born with a birth defect, bi-lateral club feet. This required several surgeries and hundreds of hours of physical therapy to allow me to walk in a somewhat normal fashion. I remember going trick or treating in a wheelchair when I was 3 or so and really walking and then running wasn’t a thing until I was 4 years old. A lot of people would call this a handicap, but I feel it was a blessing as it made me tougher and created a strong drive to succeed as walking wasn’t easy and took years to perfect.

Over the years my ankle joints and joints in my feet became progressively worse and in my late 40’s I started taking ibuprofen (NSAIDs) regularly for the pain that was 24/7. It got so bad that in my 50’s I was taking 4-6 ibuprofen a day, and on really bad days I would take prescription pain pills like Norco or Vicodin. This was not healthy for my liver and digestive system; it was causing more collateral harm than the pain it was relieving.

I was fortunate to be introduced to CBD by my brother who worked for Folium Biosciences, a premier grower and extractor of Zero THC CBD. I make a point about Zero THC for a reason. I run several businesses and have no desire or time to be “buzzed”, so getting the benefits of CBD without the “high” was essential for me. Once I tried the Hemp-based (CBD) topical products (balms and salves) and the ingestible products (gel caps and tinctures) I was amazed that I was able to go without much Advil and very rarely needed my prescription pain meds. I was so grateful for the dramatic change in my life, I started to investigate further. I wanted to learn as much as I could about CBD and ultimately wanted to figure out how I could be in the business of helping others by sharing CBD with them. I have not taken 1 ibuprofen or 1 prescription pain killer in over 2 years! Hallelujah! CBD has saved my life!

I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Scott Trudeau, a highly talented branding and design expert and we formed a company to market the Keola brand of CBD. We take great pride in creating the highest quality Broad Spectrum Hemp products. Our topical balm is amazingly effective to relieve pain and inflammation. Our gel caps and tinctures are highly effective and very competitively priced. Our Keola K-9 Pet Tincture is based in salmon oil to provide Omega 3 fatty acids as well as Broad Spectrum Hemp Oil (commonly known as CBD). All of our products are non-GMO, grown with organic farming practices and are thoroughly tested as zero THC and pesticide FREE.

The wonderful thing for me personally is producing a product that truly helps improve the quality of people’s lives. It is very rewarding and exciting to see and hear all of the success stories from our customers. We would love for you to experience the benefits that we have experienced too. In fact, for a limited time, please log in to www.keolalife.com and we will send you a sample balm stick FREE with no strings attached. We find once you try the product we feel you will be back to order more.

If anyone reading this has questions about how Broad Spectrum Hemp Products (CBD) can help in their lives, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]. One of the founders/owners of the company will personally answer your questions.

Dave Hardy
Co-founder and Partner
Keola Life

PS: A note for those of you who have “fur family members”. My family has raised Chocolate Labs for years and our original “mama” dog, Mama Cass is now 14 years and experiencing some of the more severe age-related issues including arthritis, pain, and anxiety. Her quality of life has been so much better after using our CBD products for pets. CBD is great for these issues with animals including dogs, cats even horses as well. If you think about it, back through the history of North America and for that matter “the world”, Hemp has grown wild everywhere. Hemp has been in the food supply as bison, buffalo and other game ate hemp and they were part of the food supply for humans. Native Americans used hemp in many ways including natural medicinal uses as well as creating rope, and other supplies.

Chairlift reflections from our Founder

So, last week I managed to get up to Winter Park Colorado to make some last turns of the season. Being a Thursday morning in mid-May the place was nearly empty save for the abundant amounts of snow we’ve been blessed with this season still hanging to the branches and leaving every run still beautiful to rip.

Spending the morning on the chairlift solo, gives one lots of time to reflect. To feel a tremendous sense of gratitude and appreciation for the mountains and the many experiences skiing has made possible over the years.

Why do you love skiing or boarding? I guess the answer is as varied as the people who do it. For me, the more I thought about it riding up the chair, the more ways I realized just how much I’ve been impacted by it and how important is to make time to spend outside.


As a kid, I remember the very first time I clicked into an old pair of hand-me-down skis. Even at the time they were still considered relics. It didn’t matter. Nor did it matter that my friends and I learned to ski on a 300 vertical foot hill of bullet proof ice serviced by 3 rope tows and a T-bar that sometimes worked. To us that hill was a mountain! Just like the pictures we’d rip out of ski magazines from our school library and hang in our lockers at school. — It’s all we knew. Our parents would drop us off every weekend at our local ski hill. Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday. Skiing was the bright spot in our otherwise cold, dark winters. While most people dreaded the coming of winter in the mid-west, we saw it as a time to play every weekend.

I left skiing behind when I went off to college as I could not afford the price of a lift ticket. The passion that burned in me as a kid for the sport started to fade.


Several years later after I had saved enough money to take a trip out West for the first time with some buddies. It was then that I was reunited with my old passion. I was introduced to the mountains that I used to stare at in pictures of as a kid for the first time. We all were immediately transported back in time to when we were kids at our local hill. Not because skiing in mountains compared to our little hill back home, but because we felt like 12-year old kids again! Not a care in the world save for which line we were going to take.

And that was it, we were all hooked again. So much so that we spent the next decade traveling as a group of buddies every year to new destinations in the US and abroad. Through skiing friendships deepened, we experienced new cultures and made new friends. We never again forgot how important it was to make time to get outside and play. To be in nature, to feel the weather, to get scared on line that pushed us to the limits of our ability.

I’m now 52 years old and largely because of skiing I still feel like a kid every time I click into my bindings. So I guess skiing to me still means spending quality time with my friends who are now spread all over the country. Hanging with my son and no screens. And making new friends every season.

The feeling of freedom and escape remain with me several days after being in the mountains… just long enough until the next time I’m able to ride a wide open snow filled bowl, chute or run through the trees.

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