COVID-19 caused by coronavirus has affected the world largely. This is the reason that COVID-19 has been given the status of the pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) (1). Daily lives of people have been hampered largely all over the world – the only thing is that some countries are drastically hit by the pandemic, while some other countries have not been affected that greatly. However, precautionary and preventive measures have been taken by all the countries so that the pandemic can be combated in the best possible manner. The problem is so serious that the complete shutdown and closure of businesses have been instructed by the state and federal authorities in different countries and cities.
Recommendations of aggressive social-distancing measures are being suggested by WHO as well as by various health departments of different countries and states. Bars, pubs, restaurants, shopping malls, supermarkets, departmental stores, movie halls, etc. are being closed so that the spread of the virus can be controlled. Gatherings of people are being discouraged greatly as COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease and it takes very little time to spread from an individual to a whole community. People have been asked to limit their exposure and stay at home as much as possible. The majority of offices have started work-from-home for their employees.
Lots of people are seen wearing masks for fighting the coronavirus pandemic. There are many companies that manufacture such masks but among them, OxyBreath Pro Mask needs special mention. Affected people, people who come in close contact with them and healthcare professionals are being asked to wear these masks for preventing further spread. However, generally, people do not need to wear masks as such. Instead, various hygienic procedures should be maintained as preventive measures against COVID-19. The world is united to fight this pandemic in the best way possible.
Should I go to the gym during this COVID-19 pandemic?
There are many people who frequent the gym for maintaining good health and for fitness purposes. As a result, these people have good health and strong immunity. Chances are low that such people will be affected by coronavirus easily. Also, if they are affected, the effects of the illness will not be that severe. There are also minimal chances of additional complications for people who are otherwise healthy. But with the COVID-19 pandemic, all common and social places have become equally susceptible. In this article we will discuss that in detail as to why going to the gym during this time is not very safe.
The problem with a commonplace like a gym is that lots of people come to the place and come in contact with one another, either directly or indirectly. There are high chances of catching the virus and becoming sick. The coronavirus spreads via direct contact to respiratory droplets which are expelled in the form of cough or sneeze of a sick person. Also, the virus might remain on the surface of an inanimate object and get transferred to another person from there when he/she touches the same surface and then touches one’s face, mouth or nose.
In a gym, people touch shared objects and this could pose a risk for the propagation of the pandemic. People initially thought that the virus spreads via the sweat of people too. But it has been confirmed that this is not so. This virus only spreads through respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. So avoid if there is anyone sneezing and coughing in the gym. Otherwise, for a healthy person, a gym should not pose much risk. However, when the virus is causing such great havoc worldwide, it is recommended to be safe than sorry. In many countries of the world, gyms have been closed to prevent any kind of risk.
Working out alone vs. group fitness classes
Group fitness exercises are always fun and highly enjoyable. However, in this grave situation of coronavirus pandemic, it is recommended to refrain from any kind of group activity – be it exercising or playing. This is because if someone has coronavirus and comes in close contact with you, you will be at high risk for contracting the virus. Attending a group class thus puts one in a high-risk zone.
Another thing that must be checked is whether the room where the exercise is being done is well-ventilated or not. This is because air circulation is a very important point to be taken into consideration.
The type of exercise which is being done is also important to consider. Exercises that require higher degrees of exertion can lead to extra nasal and oral secretions that fly freely in the air in the form of droplets. This can be a probable source of transmission. In such situations, it is recommended to apply some common sense and act wisely.
If you love working out and don’t want to compromise with your health in any manner, the best thing is to work out alone in such a situation. It is true that you won’t get the equipment which is available at the gym at your home, but you can still do freehand exercises or some cardio and aerobic exercises at home. The internet is a great source where you can check out different kinds of exercises, which can be done at home. Try cycling, walking, jogging, swimming as these exercises ensure complete activity of the body.
Steps for remaining safe from coronavirus if you go to the gym
If you really want to go to the gym for your fitness and health and reduce the risk of COVID-19 at the same time, mentioned below are some preventive steps which will help you in remaining safe from coronavirus.
- Washing hands before and after the workout – Frequent washing of hands is the best way in which risks of coronavirus can be minimized. WHO has been emphasizing this fact for long. Make sure that when you visit the gym, you must wash your hands thoroughly before and after the workout session. If you are cautious and need extra protection, keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your gym bag. The sanitizer should be 60% alcohol to be effective against coronavirus. During the workout, use the sanitizer at frequent intervals.
- Wiping down gym equipment before and after using them – With the breakout of COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to ensure that all gym equipments should be wiped before and after someone uses them. It is true that COVID-19 does not spread through sweat, but the equipment surfaces might have sweat and respiratory droplets on them and can be a source of transmission. If someone touches the surface and then touches the face, there are high chances of disease transmission.
- Refrain from touching the cap of water bottle with unwashed hands – You might touch the cap of the water bottle with unwashed hands and that might lead to contracting the ailment. If you touch the cap by mistake, make sure that you wash it soon. Also, do not share the water bottle with anyone; not even with the closest friend or even sibling. You never know of the source of transmission of coronavirus now.
- Don’t touch the face with hands – It is being said again and again by WHO that one mustn’t touch one’s face, mouth, nose in this time of the pandemic. It might happen that in the gym you come in contact with a surface that has respiratory droplets on it and then you touch your face with the same hand. This increases the risk of transmission to a great extent. The virus remains on surfaces like dumbbell or benches in the gym for a few hours to a maximum of 48 hours.
- Refrain from peak workout times – It is true that everyone has working out a schedule and changing that might disrupt the whole routine. However, during COVID-19 pandemic, try rescheduling your gym routine a bit. Try going to the gym in less popular times. This will minimize the gathering at the gym and risks of the virus contraction will be minimal.
- Distance from someone who is sneezing or coughing – Sneezing and coughing are the most common ways in which respiratory droplets are released in the air. Remain at a distance of almost 6 feet from the person. Infact it is recommended to maintain a safe distance from everyone at this stage of coronavirus crisis to remain safe.
When the whole world is trying to fight the coronavirus pandemic in all ways possible, these small preventive steps can bring in great results for all.