We’ve all had to change the way that we approach being social since the COVID-19 pandemic became a problem in the United States. Much remains unknown about the virus and how it spreads, with many under the initial impression that wearing a mask wouldn’t do much to prevent the spread. Since the virus became a critical issue in North America, it became apparent that wearing masks is vital to preventing its spread; but even more important is social distancing. Social distancing can be interpreted in several different ways, but when it comes to the COVID-19 virus the most important consideration is staying six feet apart from all others, ideally while wearing your mask. This is why a lot of non-essential businesses remain closed or only open in a limited capacity. With some, it is impossible for employees and consumers to socially distance while interacting. However, the fact is that we will have to adjust to social distancing for the long term as a society. Social distancing is not merely a moment in time, but our new normal, at least until a successful vaccine has been dispersed across the population.
Obviously, it is smarter to socially distance than it is to socialize as we did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. But social distancing doesn’t come without its own negative side effects. In particular, a lot of people are suffering from mental health problems related to the practice. Social distancing can be interpreted by some as isolation, and paranoia or a sense of duty can lead you to overly isolate yourself from others. This is particularly problematic for those with a history of depression, as isolation can exacerbate the symptoms of hopelessness and moodiness that can come with the condition. It can also be difficult to maintain friendships while socially distancing, and some people might also find it hard to keep up with their normal fitness routines that are vital for their overall health. Fortunately, it is possible to have a good time and interact with other people while social distancing. The key? Spending more time outside than you normally would. With that being said, let’s look into some fun outdoor summer activities that will allow you to socially distance yourself while at the same time enjoying life and spending time with others.
1. Ride a Bike
You can, of course, socially distance yourself from others while at the same time seeing them. You simply need to keep up with that six feet of space required, and furthermore limit the size of your groups to under ten people. One way to see your friends while at the same time maintaining that distance and staying fit is bicycling. It’s often easy to risk breaching social distancing etiquette while exercising, as strenuous physical activity will force you to breathe harder, and perhaps more moistly as well. Furthermore, it’s often difficult to wear a mask while exercising. If you’d like to be extra safe, there are masks that you can buy which are made of materials more idea for working out. They’re somewhat more ventilated, and may be more comfortable than typical cloth masks. But even without a mask, it’s easier to stay distant from your companions while bicycling. This way, you can hang out with the people you want to hang out with in a safe manner, while at the same time getting exercise that you need.
The great thing about cycling that makes it one of the more exciting and fun outdoor summer activities is the fact that you can do it virtually anywhere. If you’d like to get out and about in the city, you can do so why bicycling, and maintain your distance from people who perhaps aren’t being quite as conscious as you are. Alternatively, you could focus on the great outdoors and go bicycling around a lake, or in a park. If you’re really ready for a challenge and want to break a sweat, you may even want to go mountain biking. With that being said, if your plan is to mountain biking, it’s important you choose the right type of bicycle in order to prevent yourself from getting hurt. It’s also important to remember that while this is a great way of staying fit while at the same time social distancing, you may want to avoid this kind of strenuous outdoor activity if you have breathing difficulties. In fact, though you can definitely go outside and enjoy fun outdoor summer activities while having breathing difficulties, you may want to avoid groups as much as possible on a physical level. Fortunately, there are plenty of great things to do that don’t require grouping at all.
2. Go Sailing
It’s hard to get more effectively socially distanced than you would be when on a boat. While the idea of going sailing may be more palatable to some than others, depending on how close you live to a large body of water, it’s actually much more accessible than you might think. You don’t have to be an experienced sea voyager yourself to get out on a sailboat; all you really have to do is rent one for the day or even for a few hours. A lot of boat rental services also offer the services of an experienced sailor who can sail the boat for you. And if you are experienced, you can sometimes rent boats to sail for yourself, provided that you can provide proof of your own capabilities. With that being said, there is no reason why you need to have more than two or three people on the boat, and sailboats are usually expansive enough to allow you the amount of space that you need to stay safe. Furthermore, if you’re going sailing with people that you live with only, like your family or significant other, you don’t need to worry quite as much about social distancing. Family members and people who cohabit already share the same air all of the same, which means that they’re no more at risk of spreading the virus to one another outside of the house than they already are within the house.
Of course, once you’ve decided to go sailing, the type of sailing adventure that you have is really up to you. Try packing a bottle of wine and a charcuterie board if you’re going with your significant other, and you can spend a romantic day out and perhaps even watch the sunset over the horizon. If you’re going to enjoy some fun outdoor summer activities with your family, try taking your fishing poles. As long as it’s legal where you’re sailing, you may want to dock the boat and do some catch and release fishing. Another option, again depending on where you are, is going swimming, maybe even with your snorkels. There are so many ways in which you can indulge while sailing; and ultimately, in stressful times like these even simply relaxing on the boat can make a big difference.
3. Visit Weapons Ranges
Certainly, weaponry is not going to be an interest that everyone wants to indulge in; and some wouldn’t count it among fun summer outdoor activities. However, for a lot of people going out to the gun range can be a great way of safely blowing off steam during this pandemic crisis, which has left a lot of us not only cooped up in our houses but facing high levels of stress. For that matter, some people rely upon being good shots in order to hunt, which can be vital for food procurement. Of course, if you’re not interested in going to a gun range, there are other types of weapon ranges where you can practice social distancing while at the same time fine-tuning your skills. You don’t have to be a weapon owner to practice at some of these ranges as well, as some of them exist more for recreation than true practice.
One of the more classic types of ranges is an archery range, where you can not merely shoot into the distance, but work on target practice. This can be a competitive, fun practice for people to take advantage of. This is definitely one of the more unique fun outdoor summer activities, and you can really hone your skills over time and feel like you’re getting something done. But archery does require a good deal of skill, and it isn’t something that you can casually plunge headfirst into. One comparable activity that people have been taking part in lately is axe-throwing. This might seem a bit odd at first, but it too is growing in popularity, just as gun ranges and archery ranges have been. In fact, some people have even been using axe-throwing as a date opportunity, competing with their significant others to see who can hit closest to the target. Yes, it’s a bit medieval, but the thing is that you don’t have to stand close to anyone while taking part in this particular activity. For that matter, you can look on the bright side while doing it. Yes, you may have to stay out of the office for now; but you also wouldn’t have as much time or opportunity to do this kind of thing normally. But if you’d rather your fun outdoor summer activities be a bit more sedate, there are plenty of opportunities there as well.
4. Go Flower Picking
This might seem a bit cliche at first. Do you really want to take time to stop and smell the roses? It really depends; maybe you’re more of an adrenaline junkie, and mountain biking or visiting the gun range is really more your speed. But right now, a lot of people are more stressed out than ever before, and it’s imperative to try to find a way to relax in whatever manner that you can. If that means looping picking wildflowers into your list of fun outdoor summer activities, then so be it. And there is something gentle and meditative about going out and picking flowers, which a lot of people find to be a great distraction. You may want to set your mind to finding a specific type of flower, among other plants. Picking up a field guide for your local area and going hiking, picking the exact blooms and plants that you want, can be a great way of taking your mind off of the pandemic.
Of course, there is another way that you can channel this kind of hobby as well. Why not make art of your finds? You could do this through flower pressing, which is the practice of pressing and preserving flowers or other plants between the pages of blanket books. Some fill entire books with pressed flowers, and go so far as to label them. Or you could create your own floral arrangements. This takes more practice than you might think, and being able to focus on getting your arrangements just right could be just the task that you need to think positively in between all of your fun outdoor summer activities.
Once again, it’s not going to be easy for all of us to adjust to this new normal. You might have initially been thinking that your fun outdoor summer activities would include going to the beach and theme parks, and that is either completely impossible or strongly advised against depending on where you live. But just because you can’t do what you imagined you would for the summer doesn’t mean that you have to abandon the season entirely.
In a lot of ways, taking this time to simply spend time on your own in the great outdoors is a good thing, turning a negative into a positive. It’s been reported that populations with higher levels of exposure to greenspace are more likely to report overall good health. This is based on global data involving over 290 million people! You can use your new fun outdoor summer activities to strengthen yourself and to not only avoid the virus but fight against it while proving that you can still enjoy life.