As the coronavirus spreads, is it safe to go to the gym?

This “cardio killer” class at the gym could take on new meaning for those worried about the news. coronavirus.

Exercise is a prescription for good health, but is it wise to visit a health club as the epidemic grows?

When it comes to healthy young people who have no symptoms and live in areas where there is no prevalent disease, it is safe to go to the gym, said medical doctor Dr Michael Ison. infectious diseases at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago.

“But they have to be very careful,” Ison told US broadcaster NBC TODAY.

“You have a lot of people coming in and using shared equipment. When you train, you are often rub your face and the nose to wick the sweat out, then touch the handlebars – that would be a great way for someone to potentially share the virus. “

FILE | Young woman at the gym doing push-ups on dumbbells Credit: Lucie Lambriex/Getty Images

If it is safe to go to Gym may change over time as new cases appear. It is also important to follow local guidelines, as the outbreak is worse in some areas than others.

People at risk of complications from COVID-19 – people over 60 and patients with underlying health conditions – should minimize their exposure to the public, which would include skipping the gym, Ison noted. Her 80-year-old father stopped going to his health club to protect himself.

For those who want to keep the maximum social distance, the safest way to exercise may be by home gym.

FILE |  Woman exercises in gym on bicycle and listens to music with headphones on head
FILE | Woman exercises in gym on bicycle and listens to music with headphones on head Credit: washers/Getty Images / iStockphoto

People who decide to go to a fitness club should be extra careful to wash their hands before and after training, Ison noted.

In the video below: COVID isn’t about an excuse to skip the gym

Many exercise enthusiasts feel torn between the desire to stay active and concerns about contracting the novel coronavirus at the gym.

Here are more tips for healthy young people in areas without a generalized epidemic:

Use cardio or weight machines

Be sure to thoroughly wipe down the machine with an antibacterial wipe before and after using the equipment – a dry towel or a towel with water won’t do, Ison said. Try to disinfect all surfaces.

Take a group lesson

The number of people in an aerobics class is relatively small and there is usually a reasonable degree of separation between the participants, Ison said.

Use your own mat in a yoga class. If you use a mat provided by the fitness center, clean it with an antimicrobial wipe.

More information on

Swim in a pool

The chlorine in the pool will likely inactivate the virus, so doing laps is probably less of a concern, Ison said.

“The biggest problem is that you have to change in the shared locker rooms, and people often touch their mouths, noses and faces and then maybe touch the lockers,” he noted.

“If you do, wash your hands thoroughly before and after swimming in the pool.”

Run outside

It seems like the best bet. Sunlight is “nature’s greatest disinfectant” because ultraviolet light inactivates bacteria and viruses, said Joseph Fair, virologist, epidemiologist and contributor to NBC News Science.

When you exercise outdoors, there are also fewer people close enough to you that their respiratory droplets reach your body when they sneeze or cough.

Other daily activities

Going to a restaurant or cafe: In general, it’s safe to go out to eat, Ison said. The cooking process will inactivate the virus. But if there is someone sick sitting next to you or working in the restaurant, ask to move or don’t eat there.

Getting your hair cut: It’s a slightly lower risk because it’s just you and the hairstylist, Ison said. But stay away from sick customers and wash your hands after touching anything in the waiting room. “If the barber is sick, I probably wouldn’t get my hair cut that day,” he noted.

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How to tell the difference between the coronavirus, the flu, a cold or seasonal allergies? Credit: Sam Aitken, 7NEWS

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