With the rapid worldwide spread of the coronavirus, quarantines are being issued, cruise ships halted, schools closing and major events being cancelled, many fitness enthusiasts are having second thoughts about going to the gym. While it is true that the coronavirus is a highly contagious illness, the virus is not as severe as the common flu that goes around every year. Those who test positive for the coronavirus can expect that “the symptoms can include a cough, possibly with a fever and shortness of breath” stated by Harvard Health Publishing.
The CDC states that the transmission of this illness occurs “between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.” If you are experiencing symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath, you should not attend the gym as you would be risking the health of other gym goers. However, if you are a healthy individual not experiencing any symptoms of illness, it is generally safe to get your workouts in at the gym.
Many fitness establishments have increased the level and frequency of their disinfecting protocols and are using hospital-grade disinfectants on the machines, floors and surfaces. For fitness enthusiasts with a pre-existing weakened immune system, or if there is an outbreak in your town, it would be best to invest in a home gym and take a break from public gyms until the virus ceases. Michael Knight, assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Services, explains to CNBC Make It, “I would encourage my patients to continue getting moderate amounts of physical activity to lower their overall risk”.
Here is what you can do to help protect yourself at the gym:
Stay more than six feet away from other people.
Avoid people who are sneezing or coughing.
Wash your hands thoroughly for at least twenty seconds.
Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose or mouth.
Use a paper towel to wipe away sweat (then throw it away) instead of a towel where germs can accumulate.
Wipe down equipment with at least a 60% isopropyl alcohol or disinfectant wipes before and after use.
Shower immediately after using the gym.