3 of The Best Activities to Social Distance Outside
At at time where sheltering in place is a common occurrence, people are clamoring for a way to social distance and not go crazy. Many people will choose to stay at home and stay glued to the screen. We have deprived a list of outdoor activities that are a great way to get outside, get some exercise, and fresh air all at the same time.
Where we are located, in Kansas City, most of the metro has received a "shelter in place" order. Many of the local businesses are shut down or limiting on how they do business. There have been mass layoffs and most industries have employees working on reduced schedules or working from home. Health clubs are shuttered, group sports are discouraged, and people are looking real hard to find a way to remain active. Local governments, however, have encouraged people to get outside and do physical activity while maintaining a responsible social distance from one another. They suggest taking a walk with your dog, jogging, walking, etc. These are all great ways to pass the time while staying healthy.
Lack of physical activity aside, there are a great deal of people that are suddenly left without a paycheck or seeing significantly reduced income as a result of the lock-downs. Very few employers are hiring and you cannot even pick up a shift waiting tables to make ends meet. This combined with the idea that you have to be isolated to your house to wait this out and the boredom that comes with it is enough to drive almost anyone bonkers.
So, we are seeing a few problems with people who must shelter in place:
- People are not getting enough activity to keep their bodies in shape.
- They feel stuck at home and the mental toll can be immense.
- There is a severe personal economic impact people are feeling.
In a past article titled, "Top 5 Outdoor Side Hustles for 2020 - Make Money and Get Outside." I outlined these items as a way for people to get out side and make a little money in their spare time. All of the activities in the article are great ways to get outside and earn a little extra money. Each of the activities is also a great way to work your body and mind simultaneously to help alleviate the stress and anxiety that many people are now feeling. I will outline them here again to highlight how they can be applied to the problems people are facing during the COVID19 or Corona Virus pandemic we are now facing. For the three problems listed above, I provide three solutions below.
1. Metal Detecting
For a relatively small investment a person can get outfit with an entire metal detector package that will give them everything they will need to get outside, get some exercise, and have the potential to make a little money and an opportunity to make a bunch.
Metal detecting is a very low impact exercise but it burns a lot of calories. You are constantly walking, swinging a metal detector back and forth, and constantly kneeling down to locate objects you find with your metal detector. It is a phenomenal lower body workout and is really good for your shoulders and arms too. When I started the sport of metal detecting, I was a little out of shape and I must admit I had let my lower body weaken as I wasn't going to the gym as frequently as I had in the past. After a few months of the hobby, I noticed my glutes, calves, and hamstrings began to strengthen. I had shed several pounds and started feeling great. I had shoulder problems for a long time too and less time in the gym and atrophied muscles to stabilize my joints exacerbated that. By holding an 8 pound metal detector in both arms I began to see my arms become more trim and fit. The activity of metal detecting actually motivated me to get back in the gym on a regular basis.
From a financial perspective, metal detecting offers a way to find lost money and other valuables. I personally have found hundreds of dollars in loose change and had several finds that are worth much more than the lost change I have found. Gold and diamond rings, watches, necklaces, and more can be found with a metal detector. And, once you get good at it, you can actually get people to pay you to find lost jewelry for them.
2. Foraging For Mushrooms and Other Outdoor Edibles
Morel mushrooms and other outdoor edibles will begin popping up this time of year. The beauty of foraging is that it doesn't cost a thing to get started. All you have to do is find a hunting ground, grab a paper bag, get in your car. The next thing is to know how to find morels and identify other outdoor edibles in your area. Proper identification is key. Several books on the subject can be found by simply Googling something like, "How to identify edible plants and mushrooms in Missouri." There are also a ton of valuable Youtube Videos and other online resources.
The beauty of foraging for edible plants is you are often trudging through the woods in sometimes challenging terrains, ducking branches, and climbing over rocks and fallen logs. My suggestion is dress in layers so you can shed and add them as needed.
Morel mushrooms are not only delicious they are also valuable. One pound of morel mushroom can often fetch $20-40 per pound. During morel season you will often see roadside vendors hawking them for a pretty penny. Morels begin developing early in the spring, but other mushrooms like chanterelles, hen of the wood, and chicken of the wood, can be found throughout the year and also have real value.
3. Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding
It goes without saying that if you can find some gold, you can make some money. The same goes for finding gems and other minerals. So, I won't get too deep into that. Many people that live in gold producing areas of the United States don't even realize it is there. If you are fortunate enough to live in an area where gold can be found, it is relatively inexpensive to get started. Gems and mineral are exactly the same. Geodes, meteorites, and other valuable rocks are out there just waiting to be found.
I usually recommend doing a little research on narrowing down where gold may be located within the gold bearing regions. There are tons of books on where to look. The next step is learning how to extract the gold from the ground. This can be done with a metal detector if gold nuggets are common in the area. Otherwise you can get started for less than $20 by purchasing a gold panning kit. From there, if you find a good gold producing area, you can step it up to higher production gold processing equipment like a sluice box or gold trommel.
Gold prospecting physical activity is much like morel mushroom hunting. You will have to drive a bit perhaps to find a place to prospect. Once you arrive you will have to hike to a stream or old dried up stream bed to set up your prospecting operation. Gem and mineral hunting may require a bit of climbing. Both hobbies are very good for your body.
In the end the purpose of this article is to show you that you don't have to hole up in your house or apartment chained to a TV or mobile devise to make it through this. You are not technically "locked down". Not yet anyway. All of the activities are a great way to get out into nature, away from anyone else and not only pass the time but a way to get excellent physical and mental stimulation that great for you body, mind, and soul.
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- Josh Turpin