COVID-19 spreads easily from one person to another. As such, the Australian Government’s Department of Health discouraged large social gatherings. This means no concerts, festivals, movies and other large celebrations and events you can enjoy with the family. So on March 2020, cities across Australia, like the Gold Coast, declared stay-at-home orders for their citizens in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The new normal may raise anxiety and fear in both you and your kids. They won’t be able to spend time with their friends like they used to. Your hobbies are limited because you’re discouraged from going to crowded places. The board games and other indoor activities get old really quick. Plus, your kids may also need some time away from their devices. The stay-at-home orders, however, don’t necessarily mean that you can’t have some fun outdoor time with the family.

Benefits of outdoor activities

Outdoor activities, when done correctly, can help you and your family deal with the stress of the pandemic. For one, the sun is a natural source of vitamin D, which helps reduce the risk of multiple diseases and conditions, like multiple sclerosis, flu, and heart disease.

The great outdoors, especially green spaces, also provide a variety of benefits for your mental health. Being in a green space with trees and grass can help lower your blood pressure and cortisol levels. Cortisol is the hormone that creates stress and triggers your body’s fight or flight response.

Here are activities you can safely do with your loved ones.

Experience nature

Fishing and camping with the family are a couple of the safest outdoor activities you can do during this pandemic. Campsites and fishing spots often have enough space in between participants. And if you have to interact with others, whether you’re buying live bait at a local store or meeting other campers, wash your hands with soap or sanitizer immediately after the transaction.

Walk, run, or bike

Being stuck at home can lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Between working at home and taking care of the family, you may not even have time to exercise. These activities can help you and your loved ones stay fit throughout the social distancing period. Plus, you can easily do them around the block or in your public park!

If you’re going on a walk, run, or bike, it’s still recommended for you to observe social distancing measures. You and your family members should stay 6 feet away from people who are also on their run.

Wear a mask while running or biking because you may encounter other runners or bikers on your path. If you’re wondering if face masks hinder your ability to breathe properly while on a run, they won’t. The Cleveland Clinic’s sports medicine specialist, Dr Caitlin Lewis, stated that face masks can decrease your airflow slightly, but not enough to suffocate you. Instead, you’ll just run or bike a bit slower than usual.

Engage in some patio dining

Spring has just started in Australia. If you’re going to enjoy great, home-cooked food, do it outdoors where the sun is shining beautifully and the fresh spring breeze is rolling through the trees. You could even set up a barbecue and treat the whole family to delicious steaks and healthy grilled vegetables. Encourage everyone to participate in the cooking process, too. Eating the food isn’t the only thing enjoyable in a barbecue, it’s the preparation as well.

The best thing about this is that you don’t have to worry about wearing masks or social distancing because you’ll be in the confines of your own home, with more than enough distance from your neighbors.

The recent pandemic has pushed families to stay at home for over half a year now. As lockdowns are starting to ease in some states, your family can now spend some outdoor time. But practice caution because the virus is still active and a vaccine isn’t yet viable. Pick the right activities. Follow health guidelines when coming into contact with people. And try to have a bit of fun.