Avoiding isolation: Coming together while staying apart

Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 5:33 PM EDT
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Living in isolation can get lonely and can take a toll on your mental health. Our Olivia Lyons shows you how some people say they're beating the coronavirus blues.

Social distancing can be tough, especially for people who like to be around others. That's why many people are going to the track at Rutland High School. They get to say hello and pass by others while being able to keep that social distance.

"I try to get out every day to walk at least three to five miles," said Ted Salerni of Rutland.

Salerni and his friend have been walking the track for the last few months as exercise during their lunch break.

"I have been mandated to work from home the last week, so I'm definitely trying to get out and get some activity in so I don't go stir crazy," Salerni said.

According to everyone we spoke with at the track, getting fresh air and exercise during tough times helps mental health.

"Oh, I'm sure it does. I know I always feel better at the end of the day if I've had my walk," said Karen Holbrook of Pittsford.

Holbrook is a schoolteacher who would not usually have the opportunity to get out during the day to go for a walk.

"I'm here because, while I'm trying to do the social distancing, it's great to get outside and get fresh air," she said. "I just think it helps when you get the vitamin D, even though there's not much sun today for the vitamin D, but I just think it's great. You feel better after a walk."

Bex Akin, 9, and Malik Akin, 13, played at the field playing soccer with their dad instead of sitting inside, like most of their friends. Their dad coaches a local soccer team, so each day he films Malik doing a new soccer challenge for the players.

"It's just a little page that he made for challenges that you can do while this time where you can't get outside all the time. And you can do it in your house, just little drills. It's pretty fun," Malik said.

A big question is, while people are being told to isolate, should kids be going outside?

"Children definitely need fresh air, as do their parents who are staying home with them. It's absolutely wonderful for them to get outside in nongroup settings. So, go for a walk around the neighborhood, take a hike, play with a ball in the backyard. Small groups, one or two people and maintain social distancing at least six feet apart," said Amy Pfenning, a pediatric nurse practitioner.

One person at the field said it was the fourth day in a row that they had been here. They said it is always busy with people coming and going, especially in the evening.

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