COVID-19 Part I: Are the Gym or Yoga Studio Safe to Use During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
Friends, we are in the midst of uncertain times. You’ve been told one thing. Read another. All we truly know is that no one really knows what the next week; month; year hold. What we do know is that those who move will continue to find a way to do so, so we’re here to share our advice. In Part I: should you be using the gym and yoga studio during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak? And in Part II: 5 home exercise strategies you can implement if you would rather keep yourself behind closed doors.
Firstly, we must stress that we are not experts of infectious disease, doctors, politicians or proprietors of an ancient book of worldly knowledge and secrets (certain books are available). Though we are appropriately educated and well-informed in the matter at hand - from a variety of sources including but not limited to newspapers, the NHS and homemade videos of Chinese doctors amidst the chaos. We’ve seen hundreds of graphs, read countless predictions and were most recently sent these simulations from the Washington Post which explain the concept of self-isolation quite wonderfully. So if you believe we have even a degree of wisdom, let’s get stuck in.
If Your Feeling Ill
If you have been infected by Coronavirus or are showing symptoms you should not be visiting your local gym or yoga studio. You should stay at home, consult your doctor or GP and remain there until told otherwise. Why? For a multitude of reasons. In a nutshell:
Accept You Are Ill
Rest and recover. Why tax your body when you should be letting it heal? We all benefit from time off training. At the very most take a walk or do some light mobility work at home.
As of now self-isolation and social distancing are the best pieces of advice we have been given to slow the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the pressure on an already stressed healthcare system. Stay at home and ease the burden on the NHS.
Break the Chain
If you are young and vibrant, chances are that Coronavirus isn’t going to give you too much of a hard time. But being in a public indoor environment could infect someone who is much more vulnerable - those that are elderly, young, pregnant or have pre-existing health conditions. No one is by any means directly accountable, but you are part of a greater chain that may eventually lead to a death.
If You Have No Symptoms
If you have no symptoms or believe there is no chance you have been exposed, there is no compelling reason you shouldn’t visit the gym or yoga studio. But before you do so, you must ask yourself some questions and review some facts. Our interestingly thatched Prime Minister has requested the British public to, “…stop non essential contact with others and to stop all unnecessary travel - you should avoid pubs, clubs, theatres and other such social venues.” He doesn’t mention gyms or yoga studios in his hit list of locations, and he knows best right? We’ll provide some of the information here so you can make an informed decision about whether or not you want to risk it.
Sweat Doesn’t Carry Coronavirus
Dr. David Thomas, professor of medicine and director of the infectious-diseases division of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine states that perspiration alone cannot carry Coronavirus. That’s good news in a routinely sweat-rich environment. However…
Surfaces Can Carry Coronavirus
Coronavirus is typically spread through airborne particles, but a person can contract the virus if they touch a surface or object which has been in contact with said particles, and then goes on to touch their mouth, nose or eyes. We can’t be certain how long the lifespan of the virus is on different surfaces - there are many factors involved, including surface material, temperature and humidity. But recent research from the National Institutes of Health proposes a lifespan of 3 days on plastic and stainless steel, a day on cardboard and, if any of you are touching a load of copper, things are looking up in comparison with only a four hour lifespan. What does all that really matter? The important thing is that you wash your hands regularly after any contact and avoid touching your face.
Gyms & Yoga Studios Nationwide Are Focusing Huge Efforts Into Hygiene
You can be sure that your local studio and gym are doing everything they can to make sure its members are happy and the business remains afloat. From our observations these were some of the first places to implement rigorous cleanliness measures. That means increased frequency of cleaning of all surfaces and equipment, stricter protocols, educational prompts, smaller classes and litres of anti-bacterial gel to hand. This is no guarantee mind, it’s near impossible to be completely thorough when people are moving around, coming in and out and whatever else. They ultimately can’t control who enters the venue unless they shut down all together.
There’s Much Worse Places You Might Be Frequenting
The underground, public transport, cinema, club, theatre and cosy pub (thanks Boris) are much higher risk than the gym or yoga studio. There you are in close proximity with others within an enclosed space. Furthermore, gyms and studios appear to be emptying out - we went this morning and barely came within 10 metres of another human. That’s of course no reason to hit the gym without a care in the world. What it does mean is that if you’re using other public facilities, they are likely worse and you should consider the entirety of your choices during this time, not just those exercise related.
The Less You Expose Yourself, The Less Chance You Have Of Contracting Coronavirus
This is obvious right? If you decide not to go to the gym, yoga studio or anywhere else for that matter, your risk of getting ill is decreased. It’s a no brainer but remains one of the only facts in an uncertain situation. We'll leave it with you to make the final call.
So there you have it. We’ve given you a concise run down of the information you need to decide whether a trip down to the gym or yoga studio are worth it. If you’ve made the decision to stay at home, have no fear, we’ve got you. Check out:
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