Can You Still Go Walking? You Asked, We Answered.

09 Apr 2020
Di Westaway | Chief Adventure Chick and Founder of Wild Women On Top Coastrek

We all love a good, juicy debate, and we’re sure seeing a lot of them at the moment. Many of us have spent much of the past week in lively conversations with our families, friends and strangers on the internet about how we navigate the restrictions placed on us, which differ depending on where we live, how old we are, and how we choose to interpret the rules.

Despite what you might hear on the rumour mill that is social media, the Australian Government Rules are actually quite clear and simple.

Stay at home unless you are:

  • going to work or education (if you are unable to do so at home)
  • shopping for essential supplies such as groceries, return home without delay
  • going out for personal exercise in the neighbourhood, on your own or with one other
  • attending medical appointments or compassionate visits

And to protect others you must:

  • practise good hygiene
  • practise social distancing
  • follow the limits for public gatherings
  • understand how to self-isolate if you need to

On Wednesday, after being in quarantine for two weeks and overseas for two weeks prior, I stepped out my front door for the first time in a month, expecting to see an empty beach and closed down shops.

Instead, I saw hundreds of enthusiastic exercisers. They were walking, running, swimming, surfing, hiking, stretching, yoga-ing and strengthening at sunrise. It was even busier than usual.

And as a social distancing newbie, I embraced the challenge of ensuring I was vigilant, to the point of over-achieving, about my 1.5 metre safety boundary.

This was quite a test.

At one point, I was forced to dive into an alleyway as a sweaty jogger powered past me with an extraordinary sense of entitlement. Several minutes later, while safely sauntering alone on my local nature trail, I had to duck into the bushes to avoid losing my precious “1.5”. I was alert but not alarmed because I had been warned by many a wild woman that it was a jungle out there and I needed to beware!

It seems that offline, as well as online, there’s a lot of confusion about what the ‘clear and simple’ guidelines really mean.

Personally, I want to comply with government guidelines, not just in the strictest sense but the spirit of them, too. I want to ensure I am doing everything in my power to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and take no unnecessary risks. I also want to maintain my own physical and mental health, to ensure I remain well, productive and equipped to take care of my family and team.

If you’re feeling the same, here’s what I recommend:

  1. Maintain social distancing at all times, including outside and inside the home.
  2. Maintain best practice hygiene by washing your hands with soap, avoiding face touching and coughing into your elbow.
  3. Exercise in nature regularly near home alone, with family or with one other person, keeping 1.5m or more distance.
  4. Exercise indoors regularly.
  5. When exercising outdoors, be vigilant about social distancing, even if this means leaping off the path to avoid others who are less vigilant than ourselves.
  6. Connect to your family and friends remotely via phone or video calls during walks, while ensuring we maintain our focus on the safety of our steps.
  7. Set yourself a challenge of 10,000 steps around the house. This is best done while chatting to family and friends, who will no doubt be missing you!
  8. Whether we choose to walk inside or out, continue to maintain your cardiovascular health, strength, agility and flexibility by allocating at least 15 minutes per day to puff, lift heavy things and stretch. This can be done through functional exercises like climbing the doorways, carting the shopping up the stairs or doing dips and push-ups on the couch.
  9. Avoid shaming and blaming those who interpret the guidelines differently from you. Conflict creates stress in the body, which can exacerbate inflammation, making you more vulnerable to infection. When you feel angry or annoyed with someone else for how they are behaving, try taking a breath, a deep breath, and maybe punching a pillow or something. Works for me!

Share your social distancing walks with us in the Wild Women Community!