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Friday, May 8, 2020

Is There Such a Thing as Safe Sports Anymore?

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy pikrepo
While we all have to admit that seeing everyone wearing surgical masks is still a little weird, that doesn’t mean that the fear of Corona virus should keep you from enjoying the beautiful spring weather we’re having.  If anything, COVID-19 has motivated more people to get outside.  Whether it’s to soak up some sun, mow the lawn, take a walk or ride their bikes, I’ve noticed an uptick in the number of my neighbors who seem to be unusually active these days.  I guess that’s what cabin fever will do for you.  If you’re sick and tired of being cooped up at home but are concerned about the possibility of contracting Corona virus, I thought I’d take the time to give you a head’s up on what’s considered safe athletic activities.

Are all team sports taboo?

Like it or not, most team sports have been suspended for good reason.  Full contact sports of any kind is a perfect way to pass on contagion from one player to another.  That’s why virtually all professional sports were suspended at the start of the outbreak.  However, that doesn’t mean that professional and amateur athletes have stopped being active.  Below is a list of safe athletic activities that can give anybody a great cardio workout.

1.      Walking or running are solo endeavors that pose no risk of coming down with an infectious disease, provided you refrain from stopping to chat up your neighbors along the way. If you walk through the park, avoid using public restrooms.  If you’re really paranoid about catching the virus, feel free to wear a mask when you go for your daily stroll.

2.      Hiking is another good way to get out for some fresh air.  Many hiking trails are open and offer a walk in the woods that’s a healthy way to get some needed exercise while communing with nature.

3.      If you prefer to stay a little closer to home, gardening is a great way to get out of the house without risking your health.  I make it a point to pull weeds or do my spring planting most every morning.  It’s a great way to start the day.

Image courtesy pikrepo
4.      Riding a bicycle can help you get some exercise without putting yourself at risk as long as you do so on your own or with your immediate family.  If you’re a bike racer, you’ll have to wait until the fall to get back into competition.  Biking is one of my favorite ways to defeat the doldrums.  I usually choose to ride either in the early morning or after dark to avoid the traffic.  Just make sure you wear bright colored clothing and mount a headlight and a taillight if you decide to go for a night ride. 

5.      Shooting hoops alone in your driveway offers no risks.  Neither does playing basketball with your children at home.  If you venture to the park to play, make sure you refrain from touching park benches and never drink from a public water fountain.

6.      According to the Washington Post, playing tennis is safe as long as you wash your hands before and after the game.  Try to choose times when little or no players are hanging around waiting for a court.  Also avoid touching the net or any other areas that other players may have handled.  To be perfectly safe you need to play with your spouse or other immediate family members. Since both players routinely touch the tennis ball, social distancing won’t cut it on the tennis court.

7.      Swimming is only considered safe in your own pool.  While chlorine kills most pathogens, if you visit friends or relatives and decide to take a dip in their pool, there is always the chance that they are carriers of COVID-19.

Image courtesy pikrepo
8.      Boating is another great way to enjoy the great outdoors.  They don’t call Jacksonville the River City for nothing.  The St John’s River runs clear through downtown all the way to the beach.  Heading out on the water to fish, sail or cruise is completely safe as long as you observe safe social boating rules.  That means no raft-ups.  It also means you need to be wary of who you choose for your crew.  Immediate family members are the best bet.  If you invite your friends to sail with you, you’re asking for trouble.

9.      Speaking of the beach, now that they’re opened again, feel free to walk, run or surf there.  Just don’t bring a beach blanket or the police will run you off.  They have to, since the rules against large groups are still in effect.

10.  Barbecues are always a great way to get your family out of the house without leaving home.  You the kids and your pets can enjoy romping in the backyard, throwing a Frisbee or playing volleyball without fear.  If you want to lie out and get a tan, the best place to do so is in your backyard.  Plus, who can beat burgers on the grill?

11.  Got kids? Then you need to supervise their outdoor activities.  Especially if they’ve been pestering you to see their friends.  Just last week I saw a group of fifteen kids kicking a soccer ball around.  I doubt their parents realized where they were.  Since children are much less wary of the dangers posed by the Corona virus and are more apt to take bigger risks, it’s up to every parent to explain the new normal to all their kids.

Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida, Insurance in Orange Park, Florida.  To find out more ways to save on flood insurance, check out her website at


  1. You've got to find ways to beat boredom until this crisis is over.

  2. There is nothing like getting out and exercising to make you feel better during these times of extended separation and social distancing. You can still communion with nature and enjoy the outdoors.


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