Looking for fun outdoor activities you can enjoy safely during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here are several options to try.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected activities for many people. Public health restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to canceled festivals, concerts and other events. Many vacations and large celebrations have been limited or put on hold.
Despite the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there's still plenty of fun to be had. In fact, seeking out fun activities may be even more important now. Doing something you enjoy can distract you from problems and help you cope with life's challenges.
Depending on the weather where you live, various activities may be available.
The COVID-19 virus is primarily spread from person to person among those in close contact, within about 6 feet (2 meters). The virus spreads through respiratory droplets released into the air when talking, coughing, speaking, breathing or sneezing. In some situations, especially in enclosed spaces with poor ventilation, the COVID-19 virus can spread when a person is exposed to small droplets or aerosols that stay in the air for minutes to hours.
When you're outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected if you haven't had a COVID-19 vaccine.
Also, if you are vaccinated, you can return to many indoor and outdoor activities you may not have been able to do because of the pandemic. However, if you are in an area with a high number of people with COVID-19 in the hospital and new COVID-19 cases, the CDC recommends wearing a well-fitted mask indoors in public.
You're considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after you get a second dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or 2 weeks after you get a single dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. You are considered up to date with your vaccines if you have gotten all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses, when you become eligible.
For unvaccinated people, outdoor activities that are near where you live and allow plenty of space between you and others pose a lower risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus than indoor activities do.
Being outside offers other benefits, too. It offers an emotional boost and can help you feel less tense, stressed, angry or depressed. And sunlight can give your body vitamin D, too.
If you're unvaccinated, coming into close contact with people who don't live with you increases your risk of being exposed to someone infected with the virus that causes COVID-19. That's why, in general, any activity that allows you to keep a social distance of at least 6 feet (2 meters) from others is lower risk if you haven't had a COVID-19 vaccine.
There are many activities you can enjoy close to home, whether you're visiting your favorite public, state or national park, or just spending time in your neighborhood. While various activities may not be possible during some seasons, there are many ways to be active outdoors throughout the year. Get moving with these low-risk outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic:
If you're unvaccinated, avoid crowded sidewalks and narrow paths and choose routes that make it easy to keep your distance. Wear a well-fitted mask indoors in public if you live in an area with a high number of people with COVID-19 in the hospital and new COVID-19 cases. Don't wear a mask during activities in which it might get wet, such as swimming.
And don't let cold weather stop you from being active outdoors! Dress in layers and protect your head, hands and feet. Then head outside for a winter hike or go cross-country skiing. And aim to keep a positive mindset about winter. This may help you to enjoy the season and winter activities more.
Depending on your location and the weather, many other outdoor activities can be good low-risk choices if you're not vaccinated:
Depending on how they're done, many popular outdoor activities also can done safely for those who are unvaccinated. If you're fully vaccinated, you can return to many indoor and outdoor activities you may not have been able to do because of the pandemic.
While some of these activities may not be available in all seasons and locations, take advantage of them when the weather permits. Some ideas include:
Gathering with small groups of friends. For people who haven't been vaccinated, allow for social distancing between people from different households and skip the hugs and handshakes when meeting outdoors in small groups. Plan activities that don't require close contact, such as sidewalk chalk for kids and games like kickball. And remember to bring hand sanitizer.
Remember that just getting together for a chat at a safe distance can offer a valuable opportunity to be with people you care about — and boost your mood at the same time.
Bringing many people together in close contact for a longer period of time poses the highest risk of COVID-19 spread if you are unvaccinated.
Youth camp activities. Camps can be generally high-risk because campers come from different locations and spend a lot of time together indoors, in close contact. But camps can follow precautions to make them safer.
Camps can pose less risk if campers are from the same area, don't share objects, wear masks, get vaccinated when possible, wash hands regularly, and spend time outdoors with at least 6 feet (2 meters) between them. Campers should also stay home if they are sick, have COVID-19 symptoms or have recently had contact with someone with COVID-19.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it's important to take care of yourself and those around you. Practice precautions such as washing your hands often, not touching your face, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and wearing a well-fitted mask when you're in indoor public places if you are in an area with a high number of people with COVID-19 in the hospital and new COVID-19 cases. These steps are especially important for those with a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
At the same time, well-being also includes doing things that make life worth living. With the right information, you can make thoughtful choices about ways to bring a sense of normalcy and joy to your life during the COVID-19 pandemic.