Stay Fit in the Age of COVID-19

We’ve heard a lot over the last few months about how to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic – wash your hands, isolate, wear a mask, etc. – but we’ve heard less about how to stay fit while trying to avoid the virus.

While some of us might have put off exercise until restrictions pass, it’s becoming obvious that at least some restrictions will remain for some time. That could make typical fitness routines, like trips to the gym and group workouts, challenging. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get fit. With some care, new routines and creativity, you can be just as fit – or fitter – as before the pandemic. The following are some common questions and answers about COVID-era fitness.

Can I go to the gym? Most health professionals have advised against going to the gym, but they are becoming less restrictive in their guidance as gyms embrace strict guidelines. Their biggest concerns? Stagnant air that will let the virus linger, the many items and surfaces being touched by many people and the tight quarters often present in gyms. So, if you do go to the gym, pay attention to crowd limits, ventilation (open windows and doors provide the best chance for good airflow), availability of cleaning supplies you can use to wipe down equipment, places to wash hands frequently and lots of room to spread out. Finally, watch what others are doing: If people are violating your space, for example, not wearing masks and failing to wipe down equipment, get out.

Do I need to wear a mask outside? Opinions vary on this point, but most fitness and health professionals seem to agree that masks are recommended if you’re going to be running, biking or participating in other high-energy workouts around other people, even outdoors. On the other hand, if you’re going on a bike ride by yourself, or taking a jog out in the country, you should be fine without a mask … but you should probably have one with you. And, yes, wearing a mask will affect your breathing, but the right kind of mask should be able to protect you without impeding your ability to breathe enough to work out.

Will I get a good workout from virtual classes? When they were forced to close, a lot of gyms, studios, clubs and teams began to offer online or Zoom virtual workouts sessions. Some people quickly fell in love with the opportunity to stay fit at home with guidance. The challenge can be making sure you have the space and equipment necessary to get a good workout. But if you carve out the space and time, invest in a little equipment and get creative to offset the equipment you don’t have, you can indeed hone your fitness in front of a computer or TV. The trick? That hasn’t changed: Motivation and dedication will always be the key ingredients to getting and staying fit.

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