COVID-19 Healthy Built Environment Resources for Individuals and Families
We know from the CDC that hand-washing and social distancing are important elements to preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, physical activity is also an important consideration in our prevention efforts as it supports a healthy body and mind. This is a great time to get up and move around! The resources below provide tips on how to do this while taking important precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Walking is a wonderful way to get this recommended amount of exercise. It’s easy, it’s free, and you can do it by just stepping outside your door. Check out this article from America Walks to get started: Managing the Uncertainty of the COVID-19 Outbreak through Walking.
During the pandemic, many physically active individuals aren’t continuing exercising because their workout facility has been shut down. This doesn’t have to happen. The American College of Sports Medicine has a page filled with resources about staying active during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The health initiative Exercise is Medicine also has a handout about staying active during the pandemic.
Walk Georgia has some fitness tips for everyone from beginners to experts.
If you love hiking through forests, that is still possible now! Just check out the Forest Service Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates so you can plan properly.
With our young ones spending more time indoors, you may be wondering what you can do to ease the boredom and keep them healthy. Walk Bike Nashville's blog "What to Do With Your Kids" gives parents excellent advice for making sure kids stay healthy and active during this time. This may also be a good time to teach your kids to ride a bike!
Exercise is during this time is important for every age group, but especially seniors. Silver Sneakers, the nation's leading community fitness program designed for seniors, has over 200 videos available for members pertaining to senior health. Read more here.
Healthy Parks Healthy Person is an incentive and reward program designed to encourage people to get outdoors and active in parks across Tennessee. It can be a great way to track your outdoor activities in parks and greenways across the state. Afterwards, you can get rewarded for the activities you would do anyway. Since the program started in 2016, more than 6,000 users have signed up. For more information about the program, check out their website here.
Healthy Parks Healthy Person has just launched an iOS app to make it even easier to log these activities with an Android app on the way in the next few weeks. You can also still log your activities through the web app at app.healthyparkstn.com if you prefer.
While it is important that we continue outdoor recreation, we also must reduce transmission of the virus. A proven way to do this is by social distancing, a process of keeping six feet or more from other individuals.
The National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA) has created this quick reference image on guidelines to follow in public space. Click the image to expand it.
Check out the links below for more in-depth information on staying safe in parks and public spaces.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Resources for Parks and Recreational Facilities
- National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA): Keeping a Safe Physical Distance in Parks and on Trails During the COVID-19 Pandemic
While you've been out walking or cycling more, have you noticed some areas in your community that could use improvements? Maybe you've noticed some areas where it's difficult to maintain social distancing due to inadequate width of your lane, or maybe you've had some difficulty finding a safe route to your favorite destination.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can advocate to make changes so you can enjoy the outdoors in your own neighborhood even more! Check out the resources below to know who to contact and how to advocate for better, safer sidewalks and bike lanes.
- Safe Routes Partnership: Advocating for Active Transportation in the Time of COVID-19
- Safe Routes Partnership: Open Streets, Shared Streets, Healthy Streets—Creating Mobility and Physical Activity Solutions Now and for the Future
- Rails to Trails: Create Safe Places to Walk and Bike During COVID-19 Advocacy Toolkit
You may find that it is hard to eat healthy during stressful events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. You are not alone in feeling this one. One out of every three Americans report they overeat or otherwise eat unhealthy during stress. That being said, there are resources available online to help you eat healthier during this time.
The University of Tennessee Extension has a series of webpage trying to make it easier to eat healthy. First, they have a document about eating well during stressful times. They also have a document about getting food during the pandemic. Lastly, they also have a website for cooking easy and healthy recipes.
Eating healthy food is important all the time, but especially now in these times of uncertainty and stress. However, it may be difficult to do with the fallout from the pandemic. The USDA website has tips for eating healthy on a budget.
Tennessee Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental food assistance for families that need it.
Another program that provides food assistance is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It helps provides nutritional assistance benefits to children and families, the elderly, the disabled, unemployed and working families. You can learn how to stretch your SNAP benefits further from this document created by UT Extension. Also, the TN Department of Health has created a COVID-19 Sustainability page to help you reduce food waste.
While eating healthy and staying active are certainly components to maintaining a healthy mind during this time, COVID-19 can pose some added stresses in our daily lives or make us anxious. Expand the topics below to learn more about ways you can maintain good mental health during this time!
The CDC has put together a page of great suggestions on how to cope with our stress and maintain good mental health.
One great way to cope with the stressors that these changing times can cause is through meditation. If you would like to learn about what meditation is, check out the article "Meditation: In Depth" from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.
Some people prefer to rename social distancing to "physical distancing" because there are still plenty of ways to remain social! Plus, having a healthy social life contributes to your own wellbeing. Check out this article from Center for Active Design, "6 Ways to Stay Engaged While Social Distancing," for some great tips on how to maintain a social life while physically distancing!
Getting outside to exercise and get fresh air during the day is just one evidence-based method to keep your mind healthy while working from home (and there are many tips in the sections above on how to do this safely!). To discover some other tips to maximize your health in your work-from-home environment, Scroll down a little ways on this newsletter from Center for Active Design and read "7 Ways to Optimize Health While Working from Home."