The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has rocked a number of nations across the globe since the first case in China December 2019. The outbreak has spread to a number of areas, and a number of fitness and sporting events have been cancelled across Europe (e.g FIBO, Serie A football matches), with Northern Italy being in total lockdown.
With cases now increasing in the UK and schools announcing they may have to shut if the situation continues to get worse, many of us are wondering if it’s a good idea to keep going to places where there are a lot of people inside.
This has prompted a lot of people to ask if places like gyms are safe to attend. Here we outline some of the facts on the Coronavirus given from the NHS, and how you can stay fit if you decide you don’t want to attend the gym. We also provide some things gyms can do if their members stop attending.
We’re not going to go into the scientific detail here as we are simply not qualified to do so, however here is some information about the Coronavirus that the NHS have outlined for everyone:
- It is a new illness that affects the lungs and airways
- Some of the symptoms include shortness of breath, a high temperature and a dry cough
- The government has now raised the public risk from Low to Moderate
The NHS has outlined the following advice:
Wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
Put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
As it stands today (11/3/2020) there are 387 known cases in the UK.
Those suspecting of having the virus or wanting to know more information should contact 111.
Are gyms safe to attend?
We understand people's concerns, a gym can be crowded and involve a lot of sweat and frequently touched equipment. However, there's no advice or guidelines from the government declaring gyms are unsafe to attend. Gyms are cleaning more frequently, and are closing certain parts of their facilities, such as steam rooms and saunas to reduce the threat posed by the virus.
Alternatives to going to the gym
But if you do decide on staying away from the gym, here are two practical ways to keep active and fit.
These can be done in minimal amounts of space in your home, with little to no equipment. We recommend diving onto Youtube and picking up easy workouts from Joe Wicks. You can find a number of easy workouts here.
Go for a run, hike or bike ride. Research has shown that a 90-minute walk in nature boosts your cognitive functioning and decreases anxiety.
What can gyms do?
So we’ve outlined the things that members can do if they don’t want to attend the gym, now we’ve put some ideas below on what gyms can do if their membership/clients stop attending the gym.
Work on the back office
Get to work on all the parts of your business that you’ve been too busy to work on. This could be your systems, admin, programme/class content, or marketing and promotional strategies to ensure you continue to improve and come back stronger once the situation has subsided.
Provide online programmes/workouts for members to do at home
Linked to our previous point on what we can do to exercise from home, gyms could use this opportunity to send programmes and workout ideas. Although this will never replace the gym, if the situation in the UK deteriorates, it is a good idea to stay connected and continue to add value to the health of your members.
Inform and update members of any changes
Gyms are already keeping members up to date, reassuring them that staff are cleaning the facility and equipment regularly. However we suggest also keeping in touch with members and ensuring they are informed if the worst-case scenario happens where one of their members does contract the virus. If so they need to act quickly and inform all other members, staff, and ensure the facility is closed and deep cleaned.
It’s up to you how you want to stay fit and active during this period – at the moment (March 11th 2020) there are no instructions from the government to stop attending places like the gym or orders for gym facilities to shut.
Exercise will always be good for your health so even if you decide you are going to stay away from the gym, try to ensure you are doing some of the alternatives we outlined above.
Information for individuals and employers can be found here