The Coronavirus (COVID-19) is quickly spreading across the world. As this pandemic continues to grow and the world starts to take action with bans on travel and large events, what does this mean for regular gym-goers? Here is what you need to know about working out in a pandemic.
As a fitness instructor, I have seen the mood of avid gym-goers change in the blink of an eye. Asking questions like: Is it safe to go to the gym? Can COVID-19 spread through sweat? What can I do to prevent the spread of the COVID-19? What do I need to know about COVID-19 and working out?
First off, if you are a regular gym-goer, there is a good chance you have a strong immune system. The CDC reports that people in good health are less likely to contract the virus. Which means you will be able to keep COVID-19 away, or at least at bay.
In a recent post by TIME, Dr. Paul Sax noted that, “The gym is not a place that’s necessarily risker than other communal areas…I wouldn’t say there’s anything particular about people sweating that makes them more contagious.”
With those questions answered, the best thing you can do is work to prevent the spread. Here are a few tips that you can use pre, post, and during your gym sessions.
Wash your hands.
Take an extra 20 seconds (at least) to wash your hands before and after your workout. For extra protection, take advantage of the gym’s hand sanitizer machines, or bring your own to sanitize periodically during your workout.
It should already be standard gym etiquette to wipe down every machine, weight, or mat, but this should be a public service announcement to continue.
Avoid touching your face.
In a 2008 study, researchers found that people touch their faces an average of 16 times per hour. However, touching your face can significantly increase your risk of infection with flu or cold viruses, especially with COVID-19. Your eyes and mouth are areas where the virus can easily access with just the touch of a finger. Pay special attention to touching the lid of water bottles with dirty hands as this can quickly and easily transfer germs.
Keep your high-fives, fist bumps and even elbow taps to yourself.
After a hard sweat session, it is exciting to share the joy, but you never really know who is washing their hands and not. It is better to air on the safe side and use your words.
Smell the roses.
In many parts of the world, buds are forming on the trees and flowers are starting to bloom. Use the warm weather as a sign to get outside and go for run. Looking to be extra cautious? Or try my no equipment at home workout for a burn without leaving the house.
In the end, if you are not feeling well, stay at home.
If you have body aches, a fever, cough or shortness of breath, call your doctor and do your part to stop the spread by staying at home.
In conclusion, as a regular gym-goer, you are in better physical condition than most. You likely have a stronger immune system and are less susceptible to contracting the COVID-19. Stay safe by taking the proper precautions and your workout regiment shouldn’t need to change.