As a runner, you know the benefits it provides, and the impacts it has on mental health. In these times of the pandemic, it can be hard to decide if the benefits outweigh the risks of venturing out for a run. As a longtime leisure runner and an employee at our local running store, TerraLoco, I have found that it has been a saving grace in my days. I have highlighted here, two articles that display the importance of keeping up your routine and how to do that without raising your risk of the virus.
The first article, titled, “How to Run Safely Amid Coronavirus Concerns,” By Jordan Smith, discusses running outside, among a few other concerns. Running outside is healthy and she points out that running outside by yourself, at low traffic times is best. You should bring along a face covering, and use it if you can’t social distance, however, it isn’t needed if you are running by yourself. Group runs are to be avoided. Over strenuous activity such as marathons, may not be a good idea, as they may weaken the immune system. Regular exercise does strengthen your immune system, but just don’t overdo it.
The second article, titled “The Benefits of Outdoor Running in the Year of Covid-19” By Vincent Brinas, PT, DPT, Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Centerpoints out the cardiovascular benefits of regular exercise. Runners have a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality. He also points out that recreational runners tend towards better joint health and less Osteoarthritis. One way to lessen your chances of getting Covid-19 is to get enough Vitamin D, and you can do that just by running outside.
Drawing on these articles and my experience as a runner and working at the store, I have developed a 3 action plan that should help keep you safe while running during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Run Outside - Keep running but go outside where there is fresh air and sun.
Mask and Distance - Bring a mask or neck gaiter to put on in case you are near other people, or try and run in places or times that are less popular.
Avoid Group Runs - Being in large groups right now, or any groups for that matter, just isn’t safe.
In summary, you need to take your own health into your hands. The recommendations for your area need to be considered and this is not to replace medical advice, but don’t be afraid to go out there and get running. There are very safe ways to continue and it’s one of the best ways to keep your sanity in these trying times.
Kim Wolfenden is a recreational runner who recently started running longer distances, and has completed 3 Half marathons in the last year and a half. She is the Executive Assistant for TerraLoco in Rochester Minnesota. Kim is taking the Social Media Specialization from Northwestern College on Coursera.
Connect with her on Twitter @Kimmi_Cakes