America Walks, a national nonprofit organization advancing safe, equitable, accessible and enjoyable places to walk and move, suggests that making a plan for mental and emotional self-care is essential to managing the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Walking is free, accessible to all age groups and can provide a winning strategy for you and your family to maintain good health while respecting social-distancing guidelines. It can be a time to explore nature and refocus your energies as well as cause your body to release feel-good hormones (endorphins) and boost the immune system.

Those working at home may want to schedule a walk into their daily agenda, just like another meeting or scheduled task. Alternately, consider turning conference calls into walking meetings.

Attaching a purpose to a walk may also be beneficial.

  • Pick up groceries or run another errand
  • Use an app like iNaturalist to learn more about what the plants, trees and tracks you come across
  • Encourage friendly competition with others using a list of scavenger hunt items like the one at doinggoodtogether.org/bhf/nature-scavenger-hunt
  • Engage children by going on a “bear” hunt, seeking out homes that have placed stuffed animals in their windows