Wednesday March 18th 2020
The new Corona Virus, Covid-19 is presently sweeping its’ way across the globe, threatening lives, livelihoods and our way of life as we know it.
In recent days, I have received a lot of messages from many of you about whether I believe it is or is not safe to continue training in a public gym, and what you should be doing with your training/gym program in light of Covid-19. The answer is going to be different for everyone, and ultimately, only you can decide how much risk you want to take when it comes to this contagion.
Some Things to Consider When Trying to Decide Whether or Not You Should Still Be Attending the Gym…
- This is not a reason to not be active – even if you do not go to the gym, you should still be prioritising your health and that means moving!
- Where you are located, the current threat in that region and what the government recommendations for your area are
- Your age and health status
- The capacity of your gym facility, and how busy it is
- The gym’s ventilation and availability of fresh (not recycled/vented) air circulating throughout the premises
- The gym’s response and handling of the outbreak – are there additional disinfectant/hand sanitisation stations made available? Are towel and hygiene policies being enforced?
If You Do Choose to Continue Attending a Public Gym….
- Consider going at a different (less busy) time – especially if you are working from home, you do not need to go in the ‘peak hour’
- Where possible, avoid using the bathroom facilities – use the toilet at home before going to the gym, and shower back at home instead of at the gym
- Disinfect and wipe down all equipment both BEFORE and AFTER use
- Bring your own freshly laundered towel from home and wash it immediately after use
- Do not use the gym water station, or reusable water bottles without washing between refills. The virus can last for 2-3 days on both plastic and stainless steel surfaces
- Wash your hands with hot soapy water when you have finished your workout
Immunity is Vital
The best way to face a pandemic is with a healthy immune system. Regular exercise is one of the key recommendations for keeping the immune system strong and healthy. A healthy immune system is resilient when exposed to a new virus or infection. At some stage, we will all likely come into contact with this virus as it spreads further. Your best defence is a strong offence in this situation. Be prepared for when this happens by focusing now on prioritising boosting your immunity through regular daily activity, nutrient rich foods especially those rich in Zinc, vitamins A, C, D and E, healthy fats and plenty of water!
A word of caution against the overuse of antibacterial hand sanitisers…
Finally, be kind to your own microbiome at this time – it plays an enormous role in immunity. Promote the flourishing of healthy gut bacteria by consuming a diet rich in prebiotic fibre (indigestible parts of fruit an veg, i.e. skin/peel), probiotic-rich foods (yoghurt, fermented veg, kombucha) and limiting foods which feed the bad bacteria that contribute to poor health, such as sugars, alcohol sugars and too many starches.
The use of antibacterial hand sanitisers can disrupt our own mircrobiome and therefore immunity, by also killing off our healthy bacteria in the process of ridding our hands of ‘germs’. All bacteria, both good and bad, are susceptible to anti-bacterial treatments; We cannot selectively kill the bad guys. Hand sanitisation is a key step in preventing the spread of all disease, not just Corona Viruses, and this is why hand sanitisation products were invented. But using these products is like taking supplements. It is a useful tool in certain circumstances, i.e it is still better to consume a diet high in vegetables and fruits, but failing that taking a supplement will suffice, in the short term. Similarly, the best method for ensuring you are not transmitting and spreading bad bacteria is still to wash your hands frequently with hot soapy water. If there are no facilities available to wash your hands thoroughly, then using an antibacterial hand sanitiser will ensure your health is protected in the short term, but washing your hands in best practice. And if there’s anything I really believe in, it’s that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing properly and with best practice in mind.
So wash your bloody hands. Love you!