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SHOULD I GO TO THE GYM WHILE COVID-19 IS A GLOBAL PANDEMIC?

A special statement from Revolution Wellness

In light of the COVID-19 epidemic, we are asked to stay at least six feet away from others, avoid social group gatherings, and practice good hygiene.  So where does your gym fit into your new way of life? You’ll need to take a lot of precautions if you decide to go to the gym and you might be fine, or you could do what I recommend, which is not to go right now, if not for yourself, but for others.

You might be of the opinion that it seems I’m going a bit overboard because you are of the belief that you’ll be fine as long as you don’t touch something that has the virus on it and then touch your face.  Of course, you won’t touch your face so you have nothing to worry about! You may be saying to yourself that our area of the world/country is at low risk right now, so you’ll take the chance, it’s just the flu and you’re not in the highest risk age group to get it.  But let’s look at some facts first…

  • Gym goers should remember that intense exercise without adequate recovery can be immunosuppressive leaving you open to infection. It’s true that exercise helps your immune system, but not immediately after an intense workout.  This time is the highest chance of becoming ill, your immune system is trying to recover from the big workout and isn’t working on protecting you from viruses but rather on your recovery.
  • It’s not yet known exactly how COVID-19 spreads.

What we know so far is that it’s transmitted via droplets which are released when an infected person coughs or sneezes which can contaminate surfaces. When someone comes along and picks those up on their hands they won’t be infected at that point because the virus can’t pass through the skin, the skin is a great barrier to infection as long as there are no breaks in it, it’s when they start to touch their face and the virus gets close to their mouth, nose or eyes that it can get to the respiratory tract where it will start replicating.

It’s therefore, crucial to wash hands with soap before, during, and after a gym class and avoid touching the face during that period.

  • Group Fitness is not a recommended activity right now because of the proximity of where you would be in relation to other people…it shouldn’t be less than six feet away from others.  In addition, you need to do these things if you choose to expose yourself:
    • Wash your hands before using the equipment.
    • Wipe down the equipment before using it.
    • Wipe down the equipment again after using it.
    • Wash your hands again after using the equipment.

Here some more reasons NOT to go to the gym (for the time being):

  • Somone (yes even you) can have the virus and not know it for days, possibly longer while being highly contagious.
  • Currently, they are providing only 250 tests per day in Texas and only those who know they have been exposed, traveled internationally, or are showing symptoms are allowed to receive the test.  This was not the case in all other countries that have tested tens of thousands of people.
  • Our most susceptible group of people are over the age of 60 or those with a compromised immune system.  Do you wish to expose them to the virus that you’re not sure if you have or not?
  • Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. There is no treatment for it.
  • America is testing people for coronavirus at a lower rate than other developed countries, and yet the data also shows the rate of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in the US is steadily rising, as quickly or more quickly than our peers abroad.
  • Read this article: https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/12/us/coronavirus-testing-problems-nationwide-invs/index.html
  • We don’t know the full extent of the outbreak, and America appears to have been less prepared for a pandemic than other countries in the first place.
  • Here’s how the number of confirmed cases in the US compare to select other countries, based on days since each country reached 100 confirmed cases, according to data we analyzed from the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard. (This is an adaptation of a widely shared chart made by the Financial Times’s John Burn-Murdoch.)

As of March 12, Americans had tested fewer than 10,000 people total when South Korea was testing that number of people in a day. Even Italy, where the coronavirus’s spread has forced the country to shut down, is testing people at a much higher rate than the US.

“The testing failure is putting additional strain on our already challenged health system.” “The combination of all of these factors will make the US worse off than similar countries.”

Cynthia Cox, director of the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker
  • We don’t know the extent to which people who are not yet experiencing symptoms can infect others, but it’s possible that people may be contagious for several days before they become symptomatic.
  • People are thought to be most contagious early in the course of their illness when they are beginning to experience symptoms. Researchers have detected viral genetic material in patients several weeks after they’ve recovered from COVID-19. Though the significance of these findings is not fully understood, it suggests the possibility that people may continue to be contagious for weeks after they are feeling better.
  • The gym is one of those places where germs and viruses can easily populate since it is quite damp and people sweat a lot.
  • The spread of sweat within the gym can let airborne particles containing germs and viruses to travel the room. Moreover, since the ventilation is very limited in a gym, it can happen more easily.
  • Workout sessions can make you need air when you exhaust, and this can make you take deeper breaths. This is when you will be letting more particles into your body.

Many people have said that it’s just as risky as going anywhere else, sweat doesn’t spread the virus, and all you need to do is practice good hygiene.  Also, don’t touch your face with your hands, wash them after each equipment use and wipe down your equipment before and after use, but why take the chance?! 

Why risk it?  

Do you actually know if you are carrying the disease right now?  Do you know if anyone is? You most likely don’t know and neither do the people next to you at the gym.  

In light of these facts, I have decided to offer online coaching across the country and for clients who are local to New Braunfels, I am also happy to do our training in a local park if that is better for you or you just need to be outside.  I believe exercising can be fun, safe, and doesn’t require a gym to do it. Let’s get through this troubling time together by being proactive rather than reactive. Don’t discontinue all of the progress you’ve made already because of fear.  Keep up the progress you’ve had or have wanted to begin. Continue. Begin now. It’s time.

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