People are turning to outdoor activities during quarantine


Nico Arango

The Tri-Valley is home to many outdoor trails used by equestrians, pedestrians, and cyclists, such as the Pleasanton Ridge Trail.

With the shelter-in-place order set indefinitely, people are resorting to outdoor activities to keep themselves busy and active.

In an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, gyms, malls, school sports, and all other forms of social gatherings have been suspended. During this time, many have decided to spend their days in the outdoors through various activities such as biking, hiking, and running.

“My mom, sister, and I love going on hikes every other afternoon,” Cal High senior Bannie Bajwa said.

While many public parks have been closed, Bajwa said it hasn’t been hard to find a hill to hike. It also hasn’t been hard to find a trail to run, walk or bike along.

The Iron Horse trail, one of Contra Costa’s most popular trails, has become even more busy than before. At any given time of day, one is sure to find many people engaging in various forms of physical activity, be it biking, running, or walking. 

Some have even picked up new forms of staying active during such a difficult time.

“During the first week of quarantine, I taught myself how to ride a skateboard and ever since then, I like to ride it down a couple miles on the trail every so often,” senior Faustina Ha said.

“It allows me to stay active and healthy since my gym is closed.” 

Before the lockdown, Ha was a gymnastics instructor at Diablo Gymnastics. But because of the closure of her gym, she is determined to keep active by being outside.

Others see the lockdown as an opportunity to exercise when they previously were unable to because of their busy school schedule.

“Working from home has given me more time to go out and take daily walks or start jogging,” said Deborah Wright, who walks her neighborhood daily with her daughter who is a senior at Cal. “I didn’t have as much time to do this before [the lockdown].” 

While many students have been staying active, they’ve definitely felt the brunt of not being able to share these activities with their friends.

“I like skating for a couple hours everyday, but it’s not as fun anymore when I can’t do it with my friends,” said sophomore Sunny Jayaram, who noted the places he can go to skate are also limited since schools and many parks are closed 

Although many would think the six-feet distance rule would negate any possibility of team sports, this is not the case. Many big families have been able to play sports such as soccer and football amongst each other. In some parks, one may even see the occasional “illegal” soccer or football game happening between large groups of people.

Before it’s closure, Mt. Diablo was a popular site for hikers and bikers and on any given day was filled with people for miles. Some would even say the six feet distance rule was broken multiple times due to the vast majority of people there. It’s closure, however, and the closure of multiple public parks, has forced people to exercise anywhere and everywhere, such as on the streets of the main road as well as empty parking lots. 

“The way I see it, if I were to stay home all day everyday, I would go crazy,” Bajwa said. “I need to get out every so often and do some sort of physical activity.”