You’ve been told to do a few things for your health in 2020: get more exercise, and more recently — avoid large crowds. So, how do you follow this advice during the deadly coronavirus outbreak? At this time, many people are still exercising outside of their home. Even in Seattle, the current ground zero of the outbreak, there are still gyms and workout facilities open. Most businesses are currently using extreme caution, including making additional efforts to limit class sizes and providing extra sanitization efforts in their facilities.
Gregory Poland, director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic, notes that your favorite workout venue isn’t riskier than any other public place, but it’s important to keep good hygiene practices up, especially if you’re touching shared equipment (via The Wall Street Journal). He recommends using hand sanitizers on a regular basis while working out and washing your hands well as often as possible in addition to following the CDC guidelines for social distancing, which basically means standing 6 feet away from others.
Exercise can help build immunity
Whether safe from COVID-19 or not, chances are you still might not feel comfortable at a gym. That’s totally understandable, but it shouldn’t stop you from working out — in fact, exercise is more important now than ever. According to Tony Maloney, the fitness center manager at National Institute for Fitness and Sport in Indianapolis, it’s crucial to work out right now because it can actually help boost your body’s ability to fight off illness. “When endorphin levels go up, it can counteract the stress response that is so damaging to the immune system,” he says. HelpGuide reminds us that exercise is especially beneficial for mental health, so make sure you don’t quarantine yourself away from a good workout.
You could definitely consider alternate workout options, like jogging outdoors. Many people enjoy working out at home too, and there are many different fitness apps and videos available to guide your routine. If you do get sick, though, then you should probably take a break. While there is no specific guidance for coronavirus and exercise, doctors from Harvard Health generally advise against vigorous activity with a fever.
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