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Doctors provide hiking etiquette to prevent spread of COVID-19

KEYT hiking hiker

GAVIOTA, Calif. -- Hiking, jogging and walking are great ways to stay in shape physically and mentally during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health officials say outdoor activity is safer because the wind breaks up COVID-19 particles faster than indoors.

However, local Santa Barbara trails are filling up with hikers and runner. Mark Wilkinson with the Santa Barbara County Trails Council said Gaviota trails are a better option. They are less used and wider.

Wilkinson said about Baron Ranch Trail, "Once you get to the top about three miles in, beautiful vistas of the ocean and the islands. Every time you talk to somebody who goes there they say oh my gosh it's the most beautiful view they've seen."

Sansum Clinic Infectious Disease doctor, Dr. David Fisk, said being on a wider trail where you can keep six feet of distance from your hiking buddies is best. The space allows you to get exercise as well as maintaining proper distance to avoid spreading the virus.

Dr. Fisk said, exercising outside is safe. "[A person] does expel more particles when you are exercising. Both the fine aerosols that float in the air and the droplets. But because you're not, the ability to catch COVID also depends upon the amount of time you're within close proximity with another person we don't think there's significant amount of this diseases transmitted by people who run by each other on a trail."

For a list of best trails to hit in Gaviota State Park, which is about 30 minutes from Santa Barbara, and overlooks the ocean, click here.

For those of you looking for an extra incentive to get off the couch and hike, The Santa Barbara County Trail council is promoting the Healthy People Healthy Trails incentive.

The goal is to get more people out hiking and walking our local trails, as well as exploring some of the lesser used trails. If you signup they will give you a free bandana while supplies last. And every week they draw a winner from those who track and post their outdoor activities.

Article Topic Follows: Outdoors

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Scott Sheahen

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