At the time of publishing this Article, the coronavirus situation has gotten much more serious. Several governments has shut down many commercial areas, including gyms. Needless to say, if that’s what’s going on with your region right now, by all means, do not go to the gym. Now, although some of this information is couple of days old, I do think it still can apply. But, PLEASE use your due diligence & ask yourself first ‘Coronavirus: Is It Safe to Go to the Gym?’ and listen to the proper authorities beforehand. Above all else, stay safe guys.
It’s either people causing mass hysteria or the opposite, completely downplaying the situation, both achieved with false or misleading information. Although I ain’t no expert on the situation completely, what I can do is look at the actual statistics then come to a conclusion about something near and dear to us fitness folks,and that is whether to still go to the gym.
Coronavirus & Statistics
Now, first let’s talk some simple stats about the coronavirus. Coronaviruses are actually a family of viruses and the one we’re concerned with today is known as coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19. Its symptoms are very similar to the common cold, causing fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. And one of the scary notions of COVID-19 is its mortality rate, which, according to theWorld Health Organization, sits around 3.4 percent. That’s multitudes higher than the seasonal flu.
Now, the actual number is likely lower since COVID-19 testing has been largely limited. There is likely many more infected with the virus with little change to the death count, which assumed means the mortality rate would be lower. Nevertheless, it’s still a pretty big rate. Also, COVID-19’s reproductive coefficient, or the amount of people an infected person is likely to also infect, is around 2 to 2.5.
Again, higher than influenza but there needs to be more time to develop a more accurate comparison. Scientific estimates DO have COVID-19 potentially infecting more than a third of the entire human population. With such statistics, it is then in our best interest to be as preventative in spreading the virus as possible.
So if the question then, is, should we go to the gym at this current time of virus’s spread. By far the safest and most preventative answer is no. To best mitigate the chances of getting infected or unknowingly infecting others, we need to implement what is known as social distancing. As the name suggest, that means avoiding contact with other people, especially in large groups, as much as you can.
Also, keep in mind that some people might be asymptomatic, which means they carry the virus but develop no illness or related symptoms. So if you go to a gym and it doesn’t seem like anyone is sick, it doesn’t mean that no one is infected. A good example of this is what just happened with the lot of cricket players from other countries got infected but had no symptoms. Later, another teammate was infected as well. This lead to the ICC decision to limit the number of matches around the globe, even though the spread is still relatively small.
So for us, we should probably think about doing the same. Suspend your gym gains for now. But that to be as preventative you can.
Is it at all possible to go the gym anyway?
To answer that, it will depend on your region’s current situation since infection likelihood is different in different areas. If you live in an area with many reported COVID-19 cases, smart move is to not go the gym. For areas that have low COVID-19 prevalence, you can technically go to the gym just like you would go to the store or any other commercial places. But one can argue that the gym is less safe when you consider that gyms get crowded.
The air is likely humid, many people are sweating and coughing, and you’re all sharing the same workout equipment. So even though you’re statistically unlikely to be infected, for now, the gym is a solid environment for the disease to spread.
Now, some of you are probably wondering, “I’m young and what I’ve heard that young people won’t get hurt by the coronavirus.” Although young to middle age adults are generally safe from the virus, it doesn’t mean that we want to continuously spread it, specially if you regularly come in contact with populations that aren’t as safe, like the elderly, pregnant women, or any other immune deficient populations.
So don’t think so much about yourself being safe, think about how it impact others around you. But if you do feel like you’re safe enough to go to the gym, you best practice some good personal hygiene. That’s washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds before and after the gym, cough or sneeze into your elbow, wipe down every equipment you use, try to use as little equipment as you can, and shower as soon as possible.
These tips frankly are important all the time, not just during a pandemic. Some more diligent tips would be to keep your distance from other people in the gym, avoid drinking from shared water stations, instead bring your own sealed container, and avoid gym shower areas since the steamy and humid conditions are ripe for spreading the virus.
In short, stay as clean as you can and be aware of your surroundings. It is strongly recommended consider that all of us to take this outbreak seriously. No need to panic exactly and change all facets of your life, just be more diligent about the things you do. In terms of fitness, you ain’t gotta worry anyway. Your gains will be waiting for you when you get back on track. Stay safe, lift smart, and get your protein.
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