The pandemic of the new coronavirus forced many of us to change our daily lives in dramatic ways. Now, staying at home is one of the best things one can do, not only to keep yourself safe, but also to ensure that the outbreak subsides as quickly as possible. Outdoor sports are generally considered safe, but new research suggests that some extra precautions should be taken when outdoors.
Scientists in Belgium and the Netherlands have found that keeping six feet away from the outside can be no good for you when you’re running, walking or cycling. The problem here is that a six-foot rule is very effective if you follow the six-foot rule indoors and there is little movement between people. Because the virus can’t go very far in the indoor environment, it then falls to the ground or stays in the air.
However, on the outdoor trail, it is a unique challenge, as individuals can breathe a lot along the way and may even cough or sneeze. If a second person follows, even at a safe distance from indoor interactions, they can quickly come into contact with particles in the air that may contain the virus.
Scientists conducted simulation tests to determine how serious the risk was, and computers tracked the air flow around the exerciser to determine just how serious it was. Based on the simulations and data, the team recommends that individuals walking outdoors should maintain a distance of at least 4 meters (13 feet). Runners and cyclists should try to keep at least 10 meters (33 feet) away, while fast cyclists should try to keep at least 20 meters (66 feet) away from others using the same path.
Of course, finding a trail or exercise area that no one around is ideal outdoors. If you are in a smaller city, town or rural area, this should be relatively easy. However, if you’re stuck in a big city, be sure to keep the above distance advice in mind when exercising.