Blog & Insights
8 ways to enjoy the outdoors while social distancing
While we all adhere to the Australian Government’s restrictions to stay at home whenever possible, it’s still important to get fresh air and exercise each day, while staying safe in your local neighbourhood.
Spending just 20 minutes outside is a proven way of lowering stress levels as well as improving your mood. Which is something we all need in these crazy times!
Used to working out at the gym indoors and not sure where to start? Try some of these ideas to get you started.
Don’t forget: Make sure you go early in the morning or late in the day, and avoid streets and parks with high foot traffic, to minimise your risk. Pack some hand sanitiser, stay at least 1.5 metres away from to other people, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds as soon as you return indoors.
1. Take a stroll
There has never been a better excuse to explore the local neighbourhood and really take the time to notice your surrounds. While non-essential travel is limited, turn your attention instead to noticing what there is to do just outside your door – even if it’s simply on your daily excursion to the supermarket! Challenge yourself to identify different buildings or architectural styles, and take a diversion into any parkland or greenery you can. It’s a good excuse to stretch your legs and get away from your desk – and you may even spot some teddy bears or rainbows sitting up in windows along the way.
2. Jog it out
Walking is fine, but running is even better. Taking regular exercise is an incredibly important part of keeping you fit and healthy in both body and mind. It also adds some structure and discipline to an otherwise open schedule. Working and studying from home fulltime means the temptation to lounge around in PJS all day long, streaming box sets galore, is just way too great. An appointment with the outside world – with built-in health benefits – is exactly what the doctor ordered. Go early and avoid the crowds.
3. Yoga on the outside
If you prefer to stretch out your body and mind simultaneously, there’s no reason you can’t pick up your yoga mat and take it outside with you. Simply changing the scene plays an important part in keeping us all sane, and with mental health a huge priority some outside yoga is the perfect way to retain your Zen and keep a smile on your face. Yoga is about connecting both mind and body; being at one with yourself – and also with nature. It is one of the most beneficial exercises you can undertake during times of stress. So whether you’re a seasoned yogi or new to the practise, find a secluded spot in the local park and lose yourself momentarily in stillness and calm as you reconnect with the outside world.
4. On your bike
With quieter roads and less traffic, there has never been a better time to jump aboard and try some city cycling. Cycling has many and varied health benefits ranging from improved cardio fitness to improved posture and joint mobility – as well as leading to decreased body fat and lowered stress levels. It is the exercise that covers all bases, and is available to everyone. If you’re keen to explore more of the surrounds while social distancing, jumping on a bike is the perfect way to cover substantial distances in a way that won’t impact the environment. Don’t forget your helmet.
Nature is always a pleasant distraction from the stresses and strains of daily life – today more than ever. But as we amble through local parks we are actually improving our health without realising it. By just wandering amongst flora and fauna we increase our exposure to phytoncides, aromatic plant compounds said to help improve our immune-busting skills and fight off infection. Too easy! With over 600 National Parks in Australia, and over 28 million hectares of land designated as parkland, you’re never far away from this natural gift.
Although public swimming pools are currently closed, the ocean is the perfect place to exercise whether you prefer swimming, surfing, paddle boarding or snorkelling. The benefits of ocean living are long detailed in history, primarily because the water is known to be rich in both minerals and healing properties. Seawater has benefits for many skin conditions as well as aiding nasal and sinus issues. Exercising in a natural environment also has incredible restorative benefits and improves our mental wellbeing. So grab your swimmers and head to the water – just be careful to avoid beaches or areas that attract large crowds, or are closed by local councils.
7. Improve your ball skills
Why should kids have all the fun? Recharge your inner youth and use this as an opportunity to get on top of your hand-eye coordination. Pick up a ball – whether it’s tennis-sized or straight off the rugby pitch – and head to a nearby park where you can dribble, catch and throw to your heart’s content. Who says exercising isn’t fun?
8. Bird life
Step aside Fantasy Football League, there’s a new player in town. Now, it’s all about Fantasy Birding in Quarantine. Yes, bird watching is back. This once niche activity is now sweeping the globe as social restrictions force our thoughts to the beautiful simplicity of the natural world, and what lies outside the window. With no equipment required, you can share sightings, observe behaviours and more importantly, score points with this fantastic new hobby. Join in from the window ledge or keep note as you’re out and about. Warning: serious addiction may follow.