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The importance of getting outside during social distancing

Doctors say it's still important to get outside and exercise while practicing social distancing.

CLEVELAND — As businesses continue to close and more people are keeping their distance, there are still things you can get outside and do. The key is doing it safely, but it’s also actually good for your health to do so.

“People misinterpret social distancing for social isolation,” says Dr. Roy Buchinsky, the Wellness director at University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center.

While doctors say social distancing is an important part of fighting the coronavirus, it doesn’t mean that you have to be confined to your home.

Dr. Buchinsky says, “It’s absolutely most beneficial to get outside to get the fresh air. It increases serotonin, dopamine and makes you feel good.”

In fact, getting outside in nature to get a bit of exercise is just what the doctors are ordering to bolster your mental health and lower stress. However, that’s only the case as long as you’re not showing symptoms and you’re keeping your distance from others.

“The parks are here. There’s more than 24,000 acres. There’s plenty of room to socially distance yourself but use nature as that therapy that everybody is really looking for,” says Cleveland Metroparks CEO, Brian Zimmerman.

There are some things you’ve probably already thought of, like going on walks or bike rides. However, there are plenty more.

Zimmerman adds, “Do some forest bathing. Get out there and read a book, by yourself. It’s a great opportunity to reconnect with nature.”

The Cleveland Metroparks has been doing virtual classrooms,  so you may find something new to try out, like bird watching, hiking, watersports, fishing, or with a lot of courses opening up, golf.

“We’ve got virtual classrooms at 11:00AM, 1:00PM and 3:30PM, birding programs, hiking programs, grab a gear program, learn how to tune a bike up. Golf courses are open, a great place to social distance. So, we’re going to be teaching people how to do all of these different things throughout this period of time.” Says Zimmerman.

The important thing is to keep your mental health and physical health, a top priority.

Dr. Buchinsky says, “Stress and anxiety is completely normal but you don’t want that stress to turn into panic. The way to reduce that is to get out there as much as you can.”

Click here for our special coronavirus section.

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