Roads and paths are quieter but tensions about etiquette are high.
It’s certainly unusual times when people being active outside outweigh people commuting to the shops or work. And there are always going to be those keyboard warriors that will scrutinise others for trying to stay active. I have been conscious of this on social media and questioned whether I should even do my daily exercise.
Is it best to just stay home?
If I do a long run will I be trolled?
Should I take a more remote route to avoid other people?
What if I take a more remote route and fall over?
BUT as long as we have done our utmost to ‘do things right’ and do what is best for our own physical AND mental health; we don’t need to waste our energy responding or feeling guilty. As for etiquette when we are out exercising it is simply like I say to my kids when they start telling tales on each other:
“just make sure YOUR OWN behaviour is first-class, it doesn’t matter what X is doing”.
A positive of trying our best to avoid people is that we have found the most beautiful routes.
Here are a few points that will help you remain safe and etiquette savvy whilst out on your daily exercise:
Prioritise your safety to minimise the risk of injury or the need for emergency services.
Your route should ideally be low-risk for your skills and fitness. This is not the time for pushing yourself and potentially being an additional burden to the NHS.
Let a friend or household member know where you are going for your exercise or have a location tracker.
Exercise close to home so if you do succumb to injury, fatigue or a mechanical then you aren't too far to walk home.
Stay on the paths. Set-aside land and edges of fields are usually there to improve the habitats of wildlife.
Avoid contact with gates, rails or styes, and ensure you wash your hands as soon as you return home.
Fuel and hydrate appropriately for the weather and distance.
Social distancing trumps everything. Achieving personal records may just have to wait- at times we will all need to pullover and wait for people to pass and we may have to find quieter alternative routes.
Do not assume that you have the right of way, regardless of what mode of exercise you are doing.
Be heard and use your voice to make people aware of where you are. If you need to overtake someone, politely ask if they could move over to one side or wait until you have enough room to manoeuvre. Be empathetic- some people may not hear you or might react to you passing quickly (horses, elderly….hidden disabilities..)
SMILE and say HELLO. It doesn’t cost anything and you could be the only contact someone has had all day. Make it a good one.
Stay well and do what is best for your mental health xx