Contagion may have you freaked out. But there are lots of reasons to get/stay mobile and strong to improve your resilience against disease; and there are plenty more options than you may realize to keep mobile and strong in the face of a pandemic.
Regular exercisers are less prone to infection: https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/45/12/987.abstract?sid=e6594508-3aaa-4c61-99ba-4ea138580947. In fact, exercise and mindfulness is arguably more broadly effective than flu vaccines (which tend to only address one or a few strains) with regard to respiratory infections: http://www.annfammed.org/content/10/4/337.long
Avoidance, cleanliness, and hygiene are incontestably necessary. However, there will likely come a time where you face some exposure to something at some point. Being healthier and more physically fit will be the only remaining defense. This is why infectious disease organizations like the World Health Organization make recommendations on activity, protein, and dietary intakes. Those fundamentals aid in our chances of survival.
"How does one square the need for exercise with the risk reduction from avoidance?", you may be asking. You could be shocked to discover that most fundamental training can be done at home with limited or no equipment. Our company offers virtual coaching, in part, to address this type of need. In coaching calls and web conferences, we walk clients through wellness strategy, movement practices, and even workouts, specifically designed for that individual's ability and readiness. Even on site, a private training studio gets the grand advantage of PRIVATE space. Everyone takes cleanliness serious in a location like this. We don't even let shoes past the entry.
Generically, people are going to want to practice:
• some lower body push (ie - squat, lunge, wall sit, and variations)
• some lower body pull (ie - bridge, deadlift, single leg rdl, good mornings, etc.)
• some upper body push (ie - handstand, pushup variations, etc.)
• some upper body pull (ie - cobras, TYIs, and movements like this: https://www.elev8wellness.com/wellblog_best_nutrition_training_coaching_experts/non-equipment-back-exercise)
• a core component (ie - planks, crunches, etc.).
With no equipment, every facet can and should be trained. With some equipment, variations are greater and some angles more accessible. With more equipment, the only thing that changes are the numbers of variations possible.
Now, that all said, you may find yourself in the forthcoming weeks wrestling with a sense of needing to go to the gym versus risk management. That is, you may find yourself (once this threat has been abated) wanting to go in the future, but still a little freaked out about whatever remnant cases still linger months from now. All the hygiene rules which applied before this outbreak apply now and will still apply in the future: wipe down equipment; thoroughly wash your hands; don't touch your face. I have to add that some gym environments are safer than others, and some are safer on average than most anywhere else. Disinfecting surfaces is commonplace in most facilities; and fellow gym goers are more cognizant of this and other hygienic practices than average people. Viruses have shorter viability in dry environments. Thus, if you're performing heavy resistance training among other people who primarily perform resistance training, there is an incredibly shorter viability of viruses there than if you are sweating off your butt in cardio and WODs among other people who are there to sweat off their butts in cardio and WODs. Either way, you WILL touch surfaces. WASH YOUR HANDS. DON'T TOUCH YOUR FACE.
Unlike the many, many online fitness celebrities, I have actually worked in real physical gyms, and I might add FOR THE BETTER PART OF TWO DECADES. And, unlike most of the popular voices within fitness, this isn't blowing smoke. I often spent far more than 60 hours a week there. Illness rates among staff and regular gym goers was consistently MUCH lower than the average populace. I know this is anecdotal, but it makes sense when reviewing the research included above. Additionally, people who feel a hint of illness are more likely to avoid the public place of a gym than people who feel incredibly ill are likely to avoid the public places to get food, supplies, and medications. Beware the risk when stocking up on toiletries at a place where sick people go (any place with a pharmacy nearby). Plus, do keep in mind that people avoid going to the gym EVEN WHEN THEY'RE PAID TO GO: https://www.nber.org/papers/w23567. That isn't the case for your local Walgreens, restaurants, Walmart, Target, grocery stores, and the like.
Especially with the current panic ramping up to a fever pitch, commercial gym attendance is already down; and the typical yearly seasonal trends (80% of attendance drops off the second week of February anyway) will keep it that or lower going into the Summer and Fall. By the time infection rates peak in the US, the ghost town that is the gym will likely be among the least risky destinations (nevertheless, still wash your hands and don't touch your face). In the meantime, know that you can and should be making an effort at daily mobility and strengthening practices, even from the comfort of your own quarantine.
Learn more about our virtual coaching programs here.