How to Practice Social Distancing and Still Exercise

How to Practice Social Distancing and Still Exercise

Hi all! Your Health Connector Alyssa here. I recognize that this might be a stressful time for us all. We know that exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy and to fight those feelings of anxiety and unease. Please know we are all doing our part to protect the health of our community. We wanted to share a special blog to help Rowan County understand how and where to exercise safely during this time!

First and foremost, social distancing allows us to prevent COVID-19, the novel coronavirus that affects the respiratory system. Around the globe, countries are joining in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus as much as possible. They are enacting social distancing measures to make sure that people do not get or spread the disease because we do not want to overwhelm our healthcare system or emergency rooms. During this time, all individuals are susceptible; however, older adults and those with compromised immune systems are more likely to acquire a more severe case that may require hospitalization.  

What is Social Distancing Anyways?

Social distancing simply means to maintain a distance of at least six feet between you and other people and minimize your contact with people. Try to limit non-essential travel, work from home if you can, and skip social gatherings — and definitely do not go to crowded places at this time. Every single interaction you are able to reduce will have a significant impact on preventing the virus from spreading.



Facts that support Social Distancing from the NC Department of Health and Human Services:

There is currently no vaccine to prevent Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). The virus spreads through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. 

Read more about how social distancing can slow the spread of COVID-19 when you visit this link. 

Back to Exercise

Now, back to exercise – how do you exercise when you must keep six feet away from other community members, limit interactions outside of essential travel, and stay home? Well Rowan County has found a way!

First, look to your parks. Being outside can be great for your mental health and physical health during this time. Remember, we are focusing on greater distance between people and being outside allows you to do this while still maintaining a somewhat sense of normalcy during this time. Consider going for a hike at Dan Nicholas Park, Eagle Point Preserve, and other parks throughout Rowan County.

Most playgrounds and outdoor sport courts are shut down because of the nature of contact sports (remember, social distancing!) and the fact that the virus can live on metal and plastic if it is not disinfected. Be mindful of this and take time for a walk, run, or jog through your neighborhood.  Check out this list of resources for parks and walkways throughout Rowan County:

Gyms and Community-Center Exercise Opportunities

We all need to be smart about how we interact with each other and with gym equipment during this time. Many gyms throughout Rowan County are still open in some capacity, including the Forum and SoFul Yoga. To keep an update on the openings of the gyms in Rowan County, simply check their websites for more information.  

All of these facilities take cleanliness seriously. Many are increasing their efforts and looking to guests and patrons to help make sure that equipment, weights, and areas stay clean and disinfected during this time. Our hands spread bacteria and viruses incredibly well, which is why everyone needs to remember to wash their hands, not touch their face, cough into their elbow, and stay at least 3 – 6 feet away from others. If you feel sick at all, please stay home for your safety and the safety of our community!


  • The JF Hurley YMCA is posting fitness videos on Facebook you to join in and follow along, or save for later when you are at home
  • Looking for more fitness? Ester Marsh to the rescue! Email: emarsh@rocabymca.org and she will provide a 15 to 30-minute exercise routine for you.

The Forum

  • Group Exercise classes are still going on; however, there is a participant cap to ensure that social distancing can occur
  • No group bicycling exercise classes due to the proximity of the bikes
  • All other areas are open and are being rigorously maintained during this time

Planet Fitness

  • Free, online fitness videos available on Facebook under the #UnitedWeMove Campaign

Rufty Holmes

  • Rufty-Holmes Senior Center’s priority is always the health, wellness and safety of our participants. We are taking preventive measures in response to the Coronavirus health challenge.
  • All group classes, events and programs are cancelled until further notice.
  • The Fitness Annex will be open for individual exercise and will be monitored and cleaned by Fitness Staff.
  • We strongly urge Older Adults to make wise decisions to stay home, especially if their health or any chronic disease would make them more susceptible to any virus, including flu.


  • SoFul Yoga – open and following The Forum guidelines and policies
  • Heart of Yoga Salisbury offering online classes


  • There are many options on YouTube and other fitness sites for body weight exercise, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Pilates, Zumba, and more! Don’t let social distancing prevent you from staying mentally and physically healthy,

So as a reminder – practice safe social distancing for the good of the whole community! It only takes one person to start the spread and we want to contain the virus so our loved ones stay healthy. We also know that exercise is great for our bodies and we want to encourage you to go outside and play!


Together we will work to remain healthy and address this public health challenge!



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About The Author

Alyssa Smith

I am a Rowan County resident and currently serve as the Executive Director of the community coalition, Healthy Rowan. Healthy Rowan seeks to work across organizations to advocate, collaborate, and educate towards a healthier Rowan County. I hold a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from UNC – Chapel Hill and a Masters of Public Health in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior from University of South Carolina. I worked as a Nutrition Researcher at the Institute for Families in Society in South Carolina and as a Grant Writer for Cabarrus Health Alliance. I am not quite 5’ tall – but have the energy to make up for it! I am a swing dancer and have danced across the country and at international events. I have a beautiful Treeing Walker Coonhound named Classie. I love Rowan County and am excited to share all about health!