Blog – Getting Outside, Now More Than Ever

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By Casey Case, RLA, Gates + Associates

The business closures and shelter-in-place orders resulting from the novel coronavirus are turning things upside down, but are also bringing some things back to center.

I’ve been having trouble sleeping with so many unknowns surrounding the impacts of Covid-19 on our society. My routine went haywire, I’m working from home and attempting to help my kids establish some semblance of ‘home schooling.’  Lately, the only connection to normalcy I‘ve been able to keep – is being outside.

Going for a walk is one of the few activities still encouraged amid the pandemic, from local government officials to Harvard epidemiologists.  It struck me as no small coincidence that Gates’ motto for our landscape and urban design company is ‘We Get People Outside.’ Getting through this major health threat will take enormous effort and sacrifice, but we also need to keep sane and healthy.

When I’m working on design projects or focused on keeping our people healthy and informed, I’m also turning to our own advice and that of long-held medical research: Getting outside is good for your health, improves productivity and is a basic human need.

Being stuck inside and feeling unproductive is something many of us have dealt with before, whether work-related, sick leave or other reasons. I hit the wall a few times myself while on maternity leave.

Now that cooped-up feeling is a shared, community-wide experience we’ll all need to cope with as best we can.

So, let’s remember to get out for a walk or a run, of course while maintaining the social distance recommendations. You’ll also get the sunshine, air, views and uplifted spirits that we Gatesters have worked to facilitate for years.

Right now, my kids are having “recess” outside, making treasure maps and building leprechaun traps. Together, we’re tending to our chickens and will be planting seeds in a pot on the window to watch them sprout over the next few weeks. I may even do a few things I’ve wanted to get to, like baking bread from scratch.

And when we get outside, it’s fun to talk about nature, see new things and smell new smells. I’m finding I may not know the kids’ school curriculum perfectly. But I can sure teach them the Latin names of plants!

P.S. Gates’ parks and trails, including parts of the Ironhorse Trail, are all over the Bay Area!  A nice guide for all public trails and health tips from San Francisco Chronicle outdoors writer, Tom Stienstra, can also be found at: https://www.sfchronicle.com/sports/article/How-to-stay-active-outdoors-during-15138081.php


Published on March 18, 2020