Spring Term DC Student Blog No. 1

How to Remain Active While Remaining Socially Distant

By: Caitlin Jones, Q7 UWS doctor of chiropractic and sports medicine student

I don’t know about you, but two weeks into social distancing and I’m going stir crazy. Both of my roommates drove home for break and quarantine, and since my family lives across the country, I decided to stay in Portland. By myself. Being a full-time chiropractic and sports medicine master’s student, I’m looking at this as a welcome break to do the small things that have been on my list for months. I also try to maintain some normality in my days. I take a shower every day, even though my hair doesn’t get washed nearly as often as it used to! And to keep my sanity and my health, I’ve tried some ways to remain active while keeping socially distant. Hopefully these ideas will help you too!

sandbag workouts

Without gym access, I signed up for a free daily newsletter that has a new body weight workout that I commit to doing. My pushups are starting to get really good after only a week! If you’re interested, there are plenty of free and paid options out there, but I subscribed to Brute Force Training since I was looking at getting some home equipment when I realized that the gym would not be available for at least a month. I try to do the workouts in my yard as often as I can. Even in the front yard so I can wave at people as they walk around the neighborhood while maintaining social distance but getting some much needed human interaction.

There are also great yoga sessions, Barre classes, Zumba, HIIT training and more available for free on YouTube. I subscribed to Black Swan Yoga for $8 a month because I really liked the consistency of the instructors, the different skill levels, meditation practices, and it fit into my small budget. If you are a gym, sport or group fitness class enthusiast, look up that activity – you can definitely find a way to practice your skills at home.

Another great way to stay active and get outside is to go on hikes. Despite the large number of trail closures, there are still plenty open. Just be sure to be safe. On my last hike in Mt Hood National Forest, there was a sign stating that rescue teams are not readily available. So I made sure to let someone know what hike I was taking and an expected time for me to return. It’s also recommended that you only go hiking with people in your household and try to maintain a six-foot distance from others. Some hikes make that impossible. When I went to Angel’s Rest a week ago it wasn’t that busy when I got there, but as I was coming down, there were a tremendous number of people on the trail. I couldn’t make it 10 steps without passing someone. So if you go to a trail and the parking lot is full, you should consider going on another hike. I make sure to go early in the morning and even on days that aren’t the best weather. It gets me outside while still being able to remain socially distant. When I went to Mt Hood, I was the only person on the trail for my entire hike. Granted, there was four feet of snow, but the trail was marked with footprints and it was an amazing experience to be alone in nature.

snowy hike

There are a number of trails closed, so I use the All Trails app to give me ideas of where to go and it marks which ones are currently closed. You can also look up individual parks and forests such as Mount Hood to see what options they have available. It is recommended that you stay local, so if you had grand plans to go to Zion National Park in Utah as I did a couple of weeks ago, think again. That park is closed now, but it is also a 16-hour drive – so not quite local. Personally, I’m staying within an hour drive. And to satisfy my desire to go to National Parks, they have started virtual tours that you can check out here.

If you aren’t a hiker, or don’t feel comfortable hiking by yourself, take a walk or bike around your neighborhood! Once I got bored of walking around mine, I drove down to the river and walked along it for an hour. I downloaded a book on tape and lots of podcasts to listen to on my walks so I’m being active while still learning and keeping up to date with current events. The podcast I listened to today was great because it was all about how to make the most of your home workouts. If you’re interested in giving it a listen, it’s the Mind Pump podcast episode number 1257: The Best At-Home Exercises for Your Entire Body.

Even though we should be practicing social distancing, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get outside and remain active. UWS is a really fit and active community. It’s great for mental health and I hope that you are able to get outside.

I’ll be writing a few blog posts about how to keep your sanity through this, so stay tuned for the next one on at-home activities!