Although I want to devote much of my April blogging to support Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Child Abuse Prevention Month, I also want to engage with our current COVID-19 struggle. With today’s blog, I emphasize exercise as being a big part of self-care, a critical component to overcoming any challenge or hardship.
I have always enjoyed exercise. But it wasn’t until I became an adult that I learned to appreciate its holistic benefits. In addition to its obvious physical gains, our mental and emotional health benefit too. For me, jogging and cycling reduce stress and clear my head, and I often work out problems, pray for loved ones (and self), and ponder writing and speaking projects. I may get on the trail a bit stressed, sluggish, or overwhelmed, but I always get off the trail feeling a whole heck of a lot better.
So in the midst of a pandemic, seeing our beautiful trails busier has been an unexpected bright spot. I think it’s great that more people are enjoying Central Florida’s amazing rails-to-trails. We are so very blessed to have safe and beautiful places to exercise in the great outdoors. As we continue to utilize the trails for our self-care and sanity, here are ten tips for staying safe, well, and respectful:
- Be mindful that our trails are “equally” for everyone—walkers, joggers, cyclists, rollerbladers, dog walkers, families with little ones.
- Having said that, be aware of others on the trail. Look before you enter or cross over.
- Keep one ear unplugged so you are aware of your surroundings and can hear people coming up from behind, especially cyclists and rollerbladers who can’t stop quickly.
- And in case you didn’t hear that, please keep one ear unplugged.
- And cyclists, if your intent is to go out for a hard, fast ride, then use the trail during low-traffic times. It will be safer and less frustrating for all.
- Walkers, joggers, and families please stay to the right with no more than two side-by-side. This allows for others to easily and safely pass.
- Pets should be on leashes and kept close to your side.
- Step off the trail if you want to stop and talk (a healthy distance apart of course).
- When possible, choose low-peak times to exercise, reducing close contact with others.
- Enjoy our awesome trails during this social-distancing time, as our best healthcare begins with our best self-care.