For fun, mental health and safe socializing, get outdoors!

Don’t play golf? How about a camping trip? If each household group has their own tent, camping and cooking gear, you can gather around a campfire with the proper physical distance and enjoy some back-to-nature time at a campground or in your own backyard.

You can also meet up for a hike at three scenic locations within a short drive — Platte River State Park, Mahoney State Park, and, of course, Pioneers Park Nature Center. Just remember to space out appropriately as you hike, wear a face mask in a crowd, and take hand sanitizer.

If you want to share a meal, the risk of spread is so much lower outdoors. Professor Paul Turner, microbiologist at Yale School of Medicine, says physical distancing is still very key. When he wants to share a meal with friends and family outside his household, they gather together in their backyards. They consider it a minor inconvenience to not share food, utensils and beverages, keep their hands clean and maintain a six-foot distance. It takes some extra prep time and arranging seating, but the social time is worth it, he says.

If you want to dine out, choose a restaurant that has outdoor seating with tables spaced at least six feet apart. Just be sure to wear a mask when interacting with your server or moving through a crowd.

So, don’t stay cooped up. Get active and social safely outdoors!

Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln ( and LNKTV Health ( bring you “Health and the City,” a monthly column that examines relevant community health issues and spotlights the local organizations that impact community wellness. Direct any questions or comments to [email protected]

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