Some Iowans are hesitant to leave their houses and apartments for fear they’ll be exposed to coronavirus, but cooped-up couch potatoes are encouraged to get outside and get some exercise.

Mark Wyatt, executive director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, says taking in some sunshine and being out in the fresh air is exactly what many of us are needing. “This virus is spread from person to person so if you’re within the social distancing parameters, being outside is not a problem,” Wyatt says. “You can go outside and exercise and walk and ride your bike and still be very safe from the transmission or receiving the virus.”

While several states and metro areas elsewhere have issued “shelter in place” orders, Iowans are under no such edict. Wyatt says Iowa has hundreds of miles of bike trails, carving through metro areas and veering into the wide countryside. Spring is here and things are starting to turn green, he says, so get out and enjoy the outdoors.

“We’re hearing a lot from the bike community that they’re still out and biking, they’re just not going on group rides with their friends. They’re going alone or with their family to get some exercise,” Wyatt says. “I think daily exercise is important. We’ve even seen some of the areas that do have shelter-in-place, do recommend that you still go out and exercise. Just don’t go to places where people congregate.”

Keeping a social distance of six to ten feet is still a good idea outside, Wyatt says. If you’re on a bike trail and another cyclist is nearby, simply slow down or speed up and keep your distance. Also, since so many businesses are struggling in light of the pandemic, Wyatt reminds: shop local.

“A lot of the bike retailers are still open for business,” Wyatt says. “A lot of them have scheduled appointments or pick-up and drop-off service, if that’s something you’re interested in. Give your favorite bike retailer a call in the state and see what their current operations are.”

Get some tips on keeping fit — and keeping kids active — from the Healthiest State Initiative.