Ways to get outside during a global pandemic

By Abby Gallagher    

Staff Writer                       

Humans are a social-oriented species, no one can thrive locked in a house with no outside interaction. During a pandemic, how do you stay healthy and keep a healthy distance? As you avoid groups and maintain a reasonable physical distance from others, consider these outdoor activities as one way to keep your well-being. In this time of global hysteria, focus on what you can control and take care of yourselves and think of others who might need help. 

Endless opportunities await outside. So, get out of bed, put some clothes on other than pajamas, and breathe in the fresh air.  

Cycle Escapes: As the weather warms up, consider biking on the 1,600 miles of bike routes listed by Champlainbikeways.com. You can explore the borders of Vermont, New York, and Canada. In Burlington and Winooski you can rent at unmanned bike stations around the cities through greenridebikeshare.com. You can reserve and rent a bike for a small price of $2 for the first 30 minutes. It is so convenient that with the app you can drop it off at any of the bike racks listed.  

Photo By Isabella Davitt
Vermonters practice social distancing while walking at Shelburne Farms on Saturday, Mar. 28, 2020.

Walk and talk: If walking is more your speed, there are plenty of trails around the Burlington areaThe airport loop trail in Colchester circles around sport courts and fields. The 3-mile Route 127 path, the three miles makes for a good walking or biking spot in Burlington. 

The popular Burlington Greenway offers 8 miles of paved ways along Lake Champlain’s shoreline. 

Peak Climbs: “My favorite place to hike is Camel’s Hump because of the amazing views of VT from the top,” says sophomore Meghan Geouque, an avid hiker with the SMC Adventure Sports Center. Unfortunately, just recently the hiking trail has been temporarily closed. Another well-known place to hike is Vermont’s highest mountain, Mount Mansfield that reaches 4,393 feet. If you are closer to Massachusetts, Mount Watatic provides a 2.8 mile loop in Ashburnham. 

WaterFront Pass Times: Fishing can be a relaxing escape from society and help destress. Shelburne Bay provides great places to fish along the shore line. Treasurer of Backcountry Hunters, and Anglers of SMC, Brady Neeb ‘22 says, “My favorite spot to fish is Otter Creek because the long river provides different nooks to set up at”. Of course Lake Champlain is always a good spot to fish and witness the gorgeous scenery. As always, be cautious of areas that may still be frozen over and follow fishing regulations at https://vtfishandwildlife.com/node/2073

We are all in this together, everyone has a part in making the world a better place. Do what you can to stop the spread and take care of others, as well as yourself. Even if the switch is reading your book on your front steps instead of your couch.

Stand up and move:

Photo By Isabela Davitt

Vermonters go for a jog at Shelburne Farms on Saturday, Mar. 28, 2020.

Sitting on a couch binge watching netflix, doing nothing like exercising and meditating can be very stressful.  At first, Colby Nadeau 20’ had a difficult time while being at home all day., “I barely left my couch and when I did I just went and laid in bed. I went a few days without changing clothes, and eating and drinking like garbage which ended up making me feel like garbage,” Nadeau said.  But after a few days, he started to make plans on how to be productive with his time. “I started setting time for exercise, eating, and other things that helped.” 

Meditation and family:

While Covid-19 has disrupted lives, taking time to do something you would not normally have time for during work and travel can be liberating and enriching. 

“I meditate, I’ve been cleaning out stuff I don’t need,” said Garrett Donnelly ‘21. “ I spend this extra time learning and reading. I eat good food and exercise.”

 It’s not just meditation, in difficult times we can still take time to be with our families. “I’ve been sticking to a routine with my family since my mom’s job got shut down,” said Luna Isham, “And I’ve been practicing a lot of ballet.” The anxiety of being home all day can cause one to feel lazy and disinterested in everyday productivity. Meditation, activities, and family time can help relieve this anxiety.


Being at home is an opportunity to read the book you always wanted to read, to exercise more, and to learn how to be by yourself. Chris Tucker, an actor and stand-up comedian summed up the importance of staying at home in his instagram, “Working from home? man I am getting so much work done, I am cleaning up my clothes, cleaning up my desk, cleaning up my room, all reading books. Man I am doing stuff I never did before, I am taking advantage of this time. This is a blessing in disguise, the silver lining of this is you get to do something you want to do. I no longer have to shake hands no more.” 

Together, even apart:

In a crisis, solidarity brings people together and togetherness can bring joy in people. Video chatting online is one of the ongoing routines for people. If you have a friend or distant family member, reach out to them and check if they are staying safe. Social activities online can help spur others to do the same. 

For example, young people and celebrities are taking to instagram with the “stay at home challenge” the most trending activity on instagram and twitter. Everyone is challenging each other for various forms of activities, such as juggling toilet paper, doing push ups and photos of themselves in their homes. 

 On national Doctor Day, Michelle Obama shared a powerful video on instagram from two young doctors who sang an inspiring song with hopeful lyrics:  “When you’re feeling low, and there’s no one around, when it looks like it’s over and life got you down, hold on to me brother and I’ll be here when you need because there’s a brighter tomorrow, this I truly believe, everything is gonna be alright, so dry those eyes–it’ll be alright.”