Is it safe to continue my Exercise Regime with the COVID-19 Pandemic?

With the current situation around the world with the COVID-19 virus, particularly in the Perth Metropolitan area, we are getting asked a lot of questions from our clients around ‘Is it still safe to continue my exercise regime?’. To assist in providing some answers to these questions I will provide a few facts and bust a few myths that have arisen so far:

MYTH 1:

‘I cannot attend the gym as it is unhygienic and a breeding ground for the COVID-19 virus’

  • COVID-19 spreads through close contact with an infected person; mostly face-to-face or within a household. It cannot jump across a room or be carried for long distances in the air.
  • You are presently SAFE to attend the gym as normal following good hygiene principals:
    • Take a towel!
    • Wipe down surfaces and equipment with antibacterial wipes/spray after use
    • Wash your hands with warm/soapy water or use hand sanitiser regularly
    • Cough/sneeze into your elbow, not your hands
    • Avoid physical contact with other patrons
    • Where possible – take your own equipment (yoga mat, bands, etc) and disinfect/clean after each use
  • The advice around this is being updated on a regular basis, however this is the most recent advice provided by the Australian Department of Health as of 17/03/2020. Please check with your gym for regular updates on their own policies.

MYTH 2:

‘I am high-risk of contracting COVID-19 so I can’t attend the gym or exercise’

  • You are considered ‘High-Risk’ if you have traveled overseas or have had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • Many people will suffer only mild symptoms; however, early indications are that the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart and lung disease are more at risk of experiencing severe symptoms.
  • If you do not fit these categories, you are SAFE to continue exercising as normal!
  • Research shows that exercise can support our immune system and is also proven to support our mental health during stressful times such as this.
  • The Australian Department of Health recommends continuing healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep.

MYTH 3:

‘I am socially distancing myself to avoid contracting COVID-19 so I can’t attend the gym or exercise’

  • Even if you are socially distancing yourself (or in self-isolation!), you can still complete an exercise session at home or at the local park in the fresh air if you are feeling well.
  • Research shows that exercise can support our immune system and is also proven to support our mental health during stressful times such as this.
  • You should only cease your normal exercise regime if you develop COVID-19 symptoms or feel unwell; follow the Department of Health’s directions.

To summarise the above information, the most important things to remember are to KEEP YOURSELF HEALTHY AND ACTIVE. There are many options to continue with a healthy and active lifestyle while the COVID-19 pandemic is active, these include: exercising at home, exercising at a local park, taking part in ‘virtual exercise classes’ or taking part in a Telehealth consultation with your friendly Absolute Balance AEP. Along with these recommendations, you should continue to follow the advice of the department of health regarding COVID-19.

For further updates and information, please check the Australian Department of Health website. All information in this blog post has been retrieved from https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/victorian-public-coronavirus-disease-covid-19#what-can-i-do-to-reduce-my-risk-of-coronavirus-infection.

 

Alixe Marion (BSc – Exercise Physiology)

Complex Claims Specialist

Senior Accredited Exercise Physiologist