Should You Go to the Gym During the Coronavirus Outbreak?


Many believe that working out is a surefire way to boost the immune system, but with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak sweeping the globe, people have become hesitant about going to the gym.

And who can blame them? With close contact, shared spaces, equipment and sweaty people, the gym might seem like a breeding ground for bacteria.

While each person is going to do what's best for them, PopSugar reached out to John Whyte, MD, MPH, a chief medical officer who clarified that while the concerns are valid, with proper precautions, the gym should be more than safe.

He offered up some sound advice about sticking to your workout routine amidst the pandemic.

"Unless there is a full quarantine in your area, it is probably still ok to go to the gym," Dr. Whyte said. "Many gyms are using hospital-grade cleaners to sanitize equipment."

Dr. Whyte echoed the CDCs statements about the virus being spread through “direct contact with respiratory droplets” usually through sneezing and coughing.

He believes its less likely to get infected by touching a contaminated service like shared dumbells or public machines and added that there is “no current belief that sweat is a source of the virus.”

However, to err on the side of caution and proper hygiene, he did recommend wiping down your workout area and machines prior to and after your workout. The CDC advises using hand sanitizers that are 60% or higher in ethanol or isopropyl.

Dr. Whyte clarified, "Despite the fact that there is a lot of sweating going on in the gym, there's no evidence gyms are not safe."

He noted that if you are experiencing any symptoms that may be related to coronavirus such as fever, tiredness, or dry cough, you should not expose others to it in a public space.

Other precautions Dr. Whyte advised include avoiding people who are sneezing or coughing, staying six feet away from people if possible, washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds (Ellen DeGeneres gave the proper handwashing tutorial), avoiding touching your face, mouth, nose, or eyes, wiping sweat with towels, and taking a shower after the gym.

Alternatively, if you’re still feeling a little uncertain, you can always work out at home.

According to the CDC, Washington state, California, and New York had the most cases. Other states affected include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Many events including SXSW, Ultra Music Festival, the Disney+ launch in London, and even movie premieres have been canceled.

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