Gyms have closed across the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19. How can you stay active without your favorite workout class or gym partner? As our routines change during this time, we can find new ways to stay fit.

Whether you must shelter in place or you’re imposing self-quarantine, there’s one solo exercise that can help you destress, burn calories and cope with cabin fever: running. 

Learn more about how to run safely in light of coronavirus.

A Solo Exercise: Running Outside

Your feet hit the pavement and a crisp breeze touches your face. Your mind lets go. Running feels freeing, especially now.

Shelter in place orders have not prohibited people from leaving their residences for exercise as of yet. You can still get some fresh air on a run, walk or hike—as long as you practice social distancing.

COVID-19, or coronavirus, is spread mainly through person to person contact. According to the CDC, droplets from the nose or mouth caused by coughing, sneezing or exhaling can spread the virus. The CDC recommends people keep a six-foot distance between one another.

Luckily, running is an exercise you can do solo. You should refrain from running in groups, and choose a route that won’t be crowded. For some, chatting with others is what makes going for a run fun; you can try listening to music, an audiobook, a podcast, or your favorite TV show as you run alone instead. If you must run with a partner, run with someone from your household, and stay six feet in front of or behind them instead of running side by side.

Don’t push yourself to exercise if you feel sick. Stay inside and rest. Visit the CDC’s website for more information about coronavirus symptoms.

The Benefits of Running

Running outside gets you out of the house, giving you a change of scenery and a sense of purpose. As you run along a trail or sidewalk, you’ll get your heart rate pumping and boost your mood.

Shed Calories: Running for Weight Loss

Running is an exercise that you can do at any skill level. You can start where you feel comfortable and work your way up to longer, more intense runs. 

Routine running can help you lose weight. Since you can’t hit the gym, replacing your usual gym time with a run can help you stick to your weight loss goals. Runners burn an average of 100 calories per mile. The exact number of calories you’ll burn depends on your weight and pace.

Physical Benefits of Running: A Healthy Heart

As a high-impact form of exercise, running strengthens bones and muscles in your legs and core. It also strengthens your cardiac muscles, including your heart. Running can help lower bad cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve cardiovascular fitness.

A study from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that runners have reduced risk factors for cardiovascular disease and other causes of death compared to non-runners. That’s quite the reason to throw on your running shoes!

Mental Benefits of Running: Runner’s High

Aerobic exercise can improve your mood. Have you heard of the runner’s high? Running releases positivity-inducing endorphins. After a run, you’ll feel lighter and refreshed.

Running outside on a sunny day may help brighten your spirits even more. Sunlight is thought to release serotonin, a hormone that regulates your mood and helps you focus. As you soak in Vitamin D and breathe in fresh air, a run outdoors can help clear your mind and calm any anxiety you may be feeling.

Don’t enjoy running? Want to supplement running with other at-home exercises? Browse Stamina’s selection of equipment, or read our blog about exercises you can do at home.

Remember, don’t exercise if you feel unwell. Learn more about coronavirus prevention and symptoms on the CDC’s website.