March 8, 2021

INDAC

Keep Fit & Healthy

When gyms could reopen after lockdown

2 min read

Boris Johnson is preparing to announce his “roadmap” out of England’s lockdown on Monday, February 22.  

Since January 5, exercising has been limited, with people being told their daily exercise must be limited to one outdoor excursion only and not outside their local area. This should only be with one other person outdoors from outside your household. 

The government have said the only occasion a sports centre can stay open is for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios).

However, there have been calls to reopen gyms as a matter of priority because of the positive effects exercise has on mental health. Despite this, lockdown measures are still in place for the time being, and gyms are no exception.

Can I go to the gym?

No. Under the new rules, gyms are still closed and therefore the only option to exercise is either in your home or outdoors with one other person outside of our bubble should you wish. 

Are runners required to wear face masks?

Not really. The guidance says people should “wear a face covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible and they come into contact with others that they do not normally meet’.

In crowded areas, this advice could extend to runners but officially there’s no advice requiring people who are exercising in a wide open space to wear a mask. As long as you are practising social distancing, it shouldn’t be necessary to wear a face covering while exercising.

“No reason comes to my mind that we should be recommending face masks to be used during exercise. It would be expected that people should be socially distanced during exercise,” said Dr Ben Killingley, Consultant in Acute Medicine and Infectious Diseases at University College London Hospital. 

However, many professionals are in agreement that wearing a mask is more about preventing the spread of Covid-19 to others, rather than protecting yourself, particularly if you are asymptomatic. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), 42 per cent of 78 close contacts of Covid-19 patients in a hospital in Wuhan, China, showed no symptoms of the disease.

If you are going to be jogging in a highly populated area, it might be advisable to keep a face mask in your pocket and put it on as you pass any crowds of people.

Is wearing a face mask while exercising harmful?

There’s no scientific consensus on either the benefits, or the dangers, of wearing a face mask while exercising, primarily because little research has been done into the area. 

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