With the COVID-19 pandemic leading to travel restrictions and changing the way we live, exercise and socialize, many Canadians are heading outside to hike and enjoy the beautiful places that are so often a travel destination for others.
An alternative to vacations and the gym
Hiking is not only great for your health but also a safe and enjoyable activity to take part in during 2020. As Canadians come up with activities to replace normal activities, hiking has been popular on both fronts.
Hiking safety tips for 2020
Because COVID-19 can spread through respiratory droplets and close interaction and not everyone who is infected experiences symptoms, the Government of Canada recommends taking safety precautions even when outdoors.
Social (physical) distancing
Social distancing, also known as physical distancing, means staying at least six feet away from anyone who does not live in your household. Make sure to practice social distancing even when outdoors.
Basic hygiene goes a long way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Make sure to wash or sanitize your hands often and avoid sharing water bottles. Do not share other equipment, for example, a cane or dog leash, before sanitizing it.
Follow social distancing etiquette
If you are walking with other members of your household, walk single file so others can get by safely.
Choose a hike close to home
If your area is experiencing an outbreak, minimize the risk of contaminating another area by choosing a place to hike close to where you live. It's even better if you have places that you don't have to drive to. If a parking lot is full, consider another hike.
Wear a mask
You should wear a mask if you are going hiking in a popular area where it may not be possible to socially distance at all times. If you stay in the same place with a group of people for a few minutes even when socially distancing, wearing a mask is recommended. You are still in a shared space even when outdoors.
Avoid shared equipment and facilities
Try to avoid touching things like park benches and picnic tables and avoid public washrooms if you can.
Wash your hiking clothes right away
Because the virus can survive on surfaces for several days, it is best to change clothes as soon as you get home and wash your hiking clothes as soon as possible. You might want to consider leaving your shoes outside.
Stay home if you do not feel well
Staying home when sick not only gives your body the chance to recover but also protects others from the potential transmission of COVID-19. This is especially important for people with compromised immune systems and others who are particularly vulnerable.
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