Could Gyms Be a “Minefield” for Coronavirus Transmission?
Date : Mar 12, 2020
Author : DR A Zayed
Based on the latest statistics, more than 121,000 people are infected with the coronavirus, 89% of which are in a mild condition, and 11% in severe or critical illness. With the constant spread of the disease, people worry if the infection will catch up to them. You’ve probably heard that crowded areas like gyms, touching public equipment, and things frequently used by strangers pose a danger for the spread of the disease. But, it can also be inhaled via droplets in the air the moment an individual coughs, sneezes, or touches their mouth, eyes, and nose.
With all these factors in mind, we can’t help, but wonder is gyms a risky area for a virus to spread? What does it mean for those who are physically active and exercising daily? Here, we will take a closer look at the statistics and whether or not you should be worried.
Are Gyms a Risky Area for a Virus to Spread?
Based on a 2019 study by Mark Dalman, a professor at Kent State University, gyms or facilities that provide fitness equipment often display highly contaminated gear people can work with. While that doesn’t necessarily mean the gear will carry a coronavirus infection, it does harbour a bunch of different germs that could infect the system.
A different analysis issued shortly after supported the same results, but with more detailed statistics. Researchers gathered samples from 27 diverse types of equipment. The goal was to analyze the bacteria levels present on each equipment type to determine whether they can spread an infection.
The records showed that more than 70% of bacteria present on fitness equipment could have the potential to harm humans.
Treadmills were 74 times more contaminated than water faucets found in toilets. And exercise bikes had 39 times more bacteria than a food tray used in cafeterias while free weights had 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat.
Does That Mean You Should Stop Going to the Gym?
No! – Dr Norman Swan, a medical graduate from Scotland, pointed out for Daily Mail. You just need to be vigilant. Even if you go to the gym, that doesn’t mean you will get infected.
The key to avoiding the infection is to be extra careful. You can still keep a solid fitness routine and stay healthy. The idea is to reduce the possibility of transmission since, in overcrowded areas, where a lot of people come and go, it is straightforward to get infected.
What Should You Do?
Before you use any fitness equipment, it’s a good idea that you take the right precautions, regardless if a friend or a colleague used the equipment before you. That means:
- Wiping the equipment before you use it
- Using a hand sanitizer after working out
- Staying away from steam rooms, since they can’t completely eradicate the germs
- Avoiding humid areas where bacteria thrive
- Washing the water bottle often.
If you sneeze or cough regularly, it’s best to stay away from the gym until you get better. Dr David Thomas, a professor at the School of Medicine – Johns Hopkins, stated it’s a good idea to avoid physical contact with strangers and regularly carry disinfectants with you.
As you can see, if you take the right precautions, you have little to worry about, even when going to the gym. Now that we answered the question “are gyms a risky area for a virus to spread,” you are ready to continue your fitness routine and stay healthy. Let us know if you found this helpful in the comment section below.