AILSA CHANG, HOST:
If you have started running for exercise during the last few weeks, you are not the only one.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
No. With spin workouts, yoga studios and barre classes out, running is in.
CHANG: But in the age of social distancing, is it safe for you and the people around you?
KELLY: All right. The first thing to keep in mind is keep your distance.
LINSEY MARR: If you're running and you happen to be infected, you might release more virus into the air than if you're walking because you're breathing harder.
CHANG: That's Linsey Marr. She's a professor at Virginia Tech and an expert in airborne disease transmission. She is also a runner. Marr says the jury is still out on whether runners are more likely to spread the virus than other people.
KELLY: She says that, sure, you're breathing harder, but you're also moving faster and outdoors. A brisk pace and natural air currents outside may cancel out the heavy breathing.
CHANG: But to be safe, you should always run alone. And when you're passing people, try social distancing more than the standard six feet. Marr says 10 feet or more should do it.
KELLY: Now, keeping your distance can be difficult if you are running in the middle of the day. But if you run early in the morning like Pamela Skaufel, a runner in Houston, Texas, it's easy.
PAMELA SKAUFEL: Literally, I don't think I saw one person for that one whole hour between, you know, quarter to 5 and quarter to 6.
CHANG: She's a member of the Houston Harriers, a Houston-based running club. Skaufel doesn't wear a mask when she runs, but that's because she knows she can keep her distance.
KELLY: Now, there are plenty of people who don't make it outside before the sun comes up - Ailsa, looking at you.
CHANG: (Laughter) Totally.
KELLY: So if you think you may come into close contact with other people, the CDC says wear a mask.
CHANG: But even if you do take precautions, any trip outside does carry risks. So sometimes, staying safe might mean just running less.
KELLY: The New York Road Runners group has encouraged their runners to take it easy.
MICHAEL CAPIRASO: I've been a big advocate of slow your pace or change your routine. And that's OK.
CHANG: That's the group's president and CEO Michael Capiraso. He says spend more time training indoors.
CAPIRASO: Cross train as much as possible. That strength training that you might not otherwise do - take a day, and do that. You can do that at home.
KELLY: Skaufel, the runner in Houston, Texas, says she's doing just that.
SKAUFEL: I've got my kettle bells at my desk, you know, in my home office. I've been doing a lot more stretching. I usually take a yoga break.
CHANG: And as her running routine continues to change, she's trying to keep things in perspective.
SKAUFEL: And at the end of the day, it's just running, right?
KELLY: So take the steps to stay healthy now. And when all this is over, you will be able to hit the ground running.
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