Skip to main content
Getting Exercise in the Great Outdoors

After a few months of sheltering indoors because of the pandemic, you may be experiencing what has been called “the quarantine 15” (pounds). While you may be itching to get back to your favorite fitness center and whip yourself back into shape, gyms and exercise studios may not be the best choice yet. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indoor spaces are typically riskier for COVID-19 transmission than outdoor spaces.

“Fortunately, the Cleveland area offers plenty of family-friendly options for outdoor physical activity,” said Jennifer Benedetti, a MetroHealth physical therapist. Heading outside is a great way to boost your physical and mental health.

Here are some ideas for safe ways to work out:

Hike or trail run: If you enjoy getting your heart rate up while you’re out in nature, there are plenty of trails to explore at local community parks throughout Cleveland.

“Bear hunt” with your kids: Some people have placed teddy bears in their windows for kids to discover during walks outside. If your neighborhood isn’t participating in a bear hunt, try organizing one online via Facebook or Nextdoor.

Bike: Bicycle paths abound in Northeast Ohio. Check out the Towpath Trail or the Cleveland Lakefront Bike Trail, both a part of Cleveland Metroparks. also offers numerous tips and resources for pedaling around the region.

Bring Your Workout Home: Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable going out in public yet, you can always boost your physical health in your own backyard. Visit for simple, at-home exercise tips.

Do I need to wear a mask outside?

If you’re outdoors by yourself or with the people you live with, you don’t have to wear your mask. However, if you come into contact with people from outside your household and can’t consistently maintain the recommended six feet of separation for social distancing, you need to put your mask on. Keep in mind that masks are still required on public transportation and in any indoor public space.

Do I need to wear a mask while exercising?

According to the CDC, you don’t have to wear a face mask while swimming or engaging in a high-intensity activity such as running, because it can interfere with breathing. However, be sure to stay physically distanced from other people, and always keep a mask with you, just in case.

Three Exercise Apps to Get You Moving

Dr. Benedetti recommends checking out some of the many free exercise apps to help you keep track of your health.

MapMyRun: With GPS, this app tracks the distance and speed of your runs, walks, trail hikes, bike rides and other workouts. It also tracks calories burned and logs your workouts.

SmartWOD: This app is for intense cross-training and tailors exercise programs to the type of equipment users have at home.

30 Day Fitness: This app creates workout programs based around fitness goals, including losing weight, burning fat or building muscles, and whether you want an easy, moderate or difficult plan.

Talk to your primary care physician to find an exercise plan that is right for you. Make an in-person or telehealth appointment through your MyChart account or by calling 216-778-2273


Jennifer Benedetti, PT, DPT
Physical Therapist