A virologist says you don’t need to avoid the gym if you’re worried about the coronavirus, but there are a few simple steps you can take to stay healthy.
- There’s no need to avoid the gym if you’re worried about the spread of coronavirus, says virologist Jonathan Ball.
- However, it’s worth taking the same precautionary measures you should be taking everywhere.
- We are providing extra disinfectant products and upping our cleaning measures.
- Equally, fitness fans can take extra measures such as avoiding high-fives, wiping down all equipment before and after use, using a towel, and catching coughs and sneezes.
Coronavirus, aka “COVID-19,” is believed to spread through inhaling respiratory droplets that are released when an infected person sneezes or coughs, or from touching an infected surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth. As of Friday, there are more than 101,000 cases in 88 countries around the globe, according to data compiled by the World Health Organization.
With close contact, crowded spaces, heavy breathing and frequently touched equipment, the gym might seem like a minefield for coronavirus infection.
But there’s no reason to avoid the gym, Professor Jonathan Ball, a virologist from the University of Nottingham, explains.
You don’t need to avoid the gym, according to a virologist
Firstly, people are more spread out in gyms than they would be on, say, public transport.
“There’s usually quite a bit of distance in the gym between you and the next person. There isn’t massive proximity,” Ball said.
Just because the equipment is shared, it also doesn’t mean gyms are particular hotbeds for germ-spreading, according to Ball.
Also, when people are feeling ill, they’re unlikely to hit the gym even at the best of times — so chances are anyone who is feeling truly sick will stay home.
“The chances of somebody turning up to the gym feeling unwell isn’t high,” Ball said.
We have introduced extra cautionary measures
Still, in a bid to assuage fears people have around going to the gym or a group fitness classes, we have been adding additional antibacterial wipe dispensers in all clubs, extra hand sanitiser stations, and are ensuring that our team take important precautions against the spread of germs.
We just ask that if you are currently feeling unwell with any cold flu-like symptoms, that you please DO NOT come to the club until you have had the all-clear. We also ask anyone who has recently travelled through any country with established quarantine measures or on a cruise ship to not attend Planet Fitness for two weeks after your return.
If you’re still worried, there are things you can do to help prevent the spread of germs
There are various things you can do in the club to help limit the spread of germs, according to Ball — but they’re really the same measures you should be taking everywhere.
“No matter where you go, just always be aware that any surface potentially could be contaminated with a virus,” he said.
A good starting point is limiting person-to-person contact, by doing things like trading high fives for a friendly wave for now.
“At this point, people should certainly keep exercising,” Aubree Gordon, associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health says. In fact, physical activity can boost your immune system, Michael Knight, assistant professor of medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Services, says. “I would encourage my patients to continue getting moderate amounts of physical activity to lower their overall risk,” he says.
A few other things to keep in mind:
- Wipe down mats, weights, and machines with disinfectant wipes both before and after using them.
- Lay a towel down over a mat before lying down on it yourself. Always use a sweat towel.
- It may be obvious but washing your hands thoroughly before and after working out is the most effective thing you can do — and if you cough or sneeze, do so again.
- If you do have to cough or sneeze, try and catch it in a tissue, your shirt, or the crease of your elbow.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
Ultimately, though, you don’t need to feel put off working out as a result of the coronavirus — but taking extra precautions can’t hurt. If you have any questions or concerns, please give your local club a call or send us an email.