Feeling the distance

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Photo by Eric Boyd/Fall River County Herald-Star

Vistas and wide-open spaces greet hikers on the Lookout Loop Trail, 4.5 miles of a total 30 miles of hiking trails found at Wind Cave National Park. A total of three other people were passed on a recent hike, all of whom observed physical and social distancing practices.

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Ideas on staying active in a time of isolation

 

By Eric Boyd

Staff Writer

HOT SPRINGS – As our community follows physical distancing guidelines meant to stunt community spread of Covid-19, many people may find more time to themselves than usual. For those feeling the effects of increasing isolation by working from home, taking healthy precautions, or following CDC guidelines for social distancing, a reminder:

The outdoors is not closed.

With temperatures reaching 60+ degrees earlier this week and available sunshine on the rise, now might be a perfect time to take a hike or bike ride, or even start on those spring projects you’ve been planning.

Taking physical or social distance doesn’t mean being shut-in. But, it does mean being respectful of your neighbors and fellow exercisers, giving them space as you cross paths.

Health officials advise a distance of 6 feet be kept between individuals when in public spaces during the Covid-19 pandemic. This buffer will help stop spreading the virus through respiration and other means of contact.

For example, when walking or biking on the Freedom Trail, taking a right of way approach might be best. If there’s not enough room on-path to keep your 6-foot distance from others, stepping aside as that family of four passes, or taking a step or two off-trail while an older pedestrian takes his/her pace might be the best medicine - especially when crossing paths is unavoidable.

As always, a smile and a friendly hello go a long way to brighten someone’s day in these trying times.

An early start to spring cleanup could also be a great way to pass the time outdoors. Picking up trash along city streets, parks, and in your own neighborhood is an easy way to get out and about - not only benefiting yourself but your community as well.

Also, spring weather means getting those garden spaces ready for seed. With produce demand on the rise, urban gardening could help our community remain more self-reliant during possible supply shortages. If nothing else, spending that time outdoors would help take one away from TV news and the internet blues.

For those that enjoy a more vigorous outdoor experience, Wind Cave National Park is open for business. With over 30 miles of surface hiking trails, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy a whole day of fresh air and exercise while experiencing the very minimum of human contact.

As a reminder, national park visitor centers and campgrounds are currently closed due to Covid-19, but roads and trails will remain open until further notice.

These are just a few of many ideas to consider for taking a step toward staying active while we confront Covid-19, and all should be approached with something important in mind: it is everyone’s responsibility to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus in our area.

Maintaining a 6-foot physical distance could be a minor inconvenience with a major payoff - staying active, staying healthy, and protecting friends and loved ones from getting seriously sick.

Fall River County Herald Star

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