Coronavirus and Fitness: Should you stop going to the gym?
The past few days the media has raised a lot of concerns about coronavirus and how careful we should all be to wash our hands, avoid touching our faces, and stay away from public spaces - but does that include the gym? Dumbbells are said to have 362x more germs than a toilet seat and if people are too lazy to rerack their weights, they are definitely not wiping down after each exercise. So here are 3 tips if you plan on visiting the gym during this coronavirus pandemic!
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** information is current as of 3/13/2020. Check CDC.gov and local authorities for up to date information. This advice does not override medical care and you should talk to your primary care doctor if you have any symptoms or concerns.
1. Wipe and wash EVERYTHANG - Germs can live on surfaces for days and while it is impossible to have a sterile environment, everyone doing their part helps. Wipe down your cardio machines, free weights, exercise balls, yoga mats, slam balls, and anything else you use. Personally, I would bring my own wipes in case the gym runs out (these are my favorite) and wipe it down before and after use to make it safe for myself and others. Also a mini hand sanitizer wouldn't hurt either between sets. Lastly, wipe down your phone screen and water bottle after every workout so you aren't bringing anything home with you.
2. Avoid peak times - Nothing is better than an empty gym especially during flu season (or an international outbreak!) Going early in the morning, mid day, or late night with less crowds means less germs and waiting for machines. If you can't rearrange your schedule, consider doing more home workouts to protect yourself and others. Due to the coronavirus, I am offering my online coaching services and virtual workouts for FREE for two weeks! Just register here and I will email you asap.
3. If you feel sick, stay home! - Risking it is not worth it one bit whether it is the coronavirus or not. Even a common cold can weaken your immune system and make you more likely to contract coronavirus. Also your body needs rest! Take a day or two off, watch some Netflix, drink your tea, and relax. The gym will still be there after all this blow over!
BONUS TIP: If you are taking time off from the gym due to the coronavirus I am offering my coaching services and virtual workouts for FREE for two weeks! This comes with over 1,000 workout videos on demand as well as nutrition guides and my online bootcamp for support. You can sign up here and be working out in the comfort of your own home in just 10 minutes! It will ask for a credit card and the membership will renew for 3 months for $39.99 at the end of the two weeks, but you can cancel at anytime and not be charged!
Should I avoid working out? Exercise can actually boost your immune system and help you avoid getting sick. It may be a good idea to workout at home for the time being or be extremely cautious at the gym. Since coronavirus has a 5 day incubation period, you could unknowingly infect others or catch it from the gym.
Can sweat get you sick? As far as we know, coronavirus cannot be spread via sweat, BUT hot damp environments (such a gyms) are great places for germs to grow. Maybe hot yoga this week isn't a great idea.
Should you wear a mask? Since coronavirus is a droplet precaution, not an airborne one, masks are not required. If you are infected, wearing a mask can protect others. If you are healthy, a mask will not protect you since this is not an airborne disease. Wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
Is it safe? If you are healthy, young, and being careful, you should be fine. Even if you have coronavirus your fatality rate is very slim. I would highly recommend taking all precautions you can, but it is up to you if you want to risk your health or others. For more information, here is the official report from the CDC.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your local government and primary care doctor. As for me, I will be working out at home, avoid human contact, and only cuddling my puppy! Stay healthy and safe <3