It figures, right? You finally got into a good routine at the gym, and BAM – a pandemic! How can you balance your desire to keep yourself and your loved ones Coronavirus-free without backtracking on the progress you’ve made with your fitness level and muscle mass?
There is no reason to worry! In the next lines you will get all the information you need to be able to perform a whole body exercise session to keep and even improve your fitness level and muscles!
Are gyms safe?
First off, is it even OK to go to the gym? Depending on where you live, you might not have the option, as many gyms have closed until further notice. If your gym is still open, how can you decide if it’s safe to get your workout in?
The whole idea behind gyms (and lots of other businesses) closing comes down to social distancing. If you haven’t heard this fun buzzword yet, here’s a primer:
- Coronavirus is spread by droplet transmission, which means it can be passed from person to person in droplets released during sneezing and coughing (1).
- Coronavirus cannot be spread by sweat, only respiratory droplets (1). Of course, you’ll want to spray and wipe your sweat off equipment and mats as usual just to be a good gym-goer!
- While it can’t be spread by sweat, other types of coronaviruses can survive on surfaces for as long as 9 days, and it is believed that COVID-19 can do the same. This means that if an infected person coughs into their hands, gets on the elliptical machine, and doesn’t clean and disinfect the handlebars, you may pick up coronavirus by touching those same handlebars (1).
- For this reason, gyms that are still remaining open are being extra-diligent about their cleaning protocols. For example, Equinox gyms are disinfecting all surfaces 3 times a day and eliminating contact between people (such as yoga adjustments), but even this is not always enough and there is always the risk of infection
- The virus may also be spread through close contact with infected people, so a safe “social” distance of 6 feet has been recommended by the CDC to minimize contracting coronavirus from people nearby (1).
So, can I go to the gym during the coronavirus pandemic?
Unless you live in an area where coronavirus infections are widespread right now (in which case your gym is probably closed anyway!), you have a good chance of not picking it up at the gym, but of course there are increased chances to get the virus, because any equipment that you use is also used by others that might have the virus. That said, it doesn’t hurt to be extra-cautious when it comes to your health. Here are a few things you can do to lower your risk of becoming infected with coronavirus at the gym:
- Before visiting a gym, you should call to check how many members are allowed in at the same time and might also need to make a reservation for your training group and the exact time that you will exercise (2).
- If you don’t know your gym’s cleaning policy, ask them! Any reputable gym will be taking cleanliness seriously right now, and they’ll be more than willing to explain these extra precautions to you.
- Bring your own sanitizing wipes to the gym! The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests looking for wipes or sanitizer that are at least 60 to 70% alcohol (1).
- If you’re feeling sick (or someone in your household is sick), just stay home!
- If you need to cough or sneeze during your workout (even you, spring allergy sufferers!), try to do it into your elbow or use a tissue if possible. Throw any used tissues into the trash as soon as possible, then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.
- Bring your own water bottle and towel and don’t share it with anyone.
- Need your yoga fix? Bring your own mat.
- Remember to observe a social distance of 6 feet as much as possible. That’s right, finally an excuse to choose a treadmill that’s nowhere near anyone!
- If you belong to the patients groups that have a serious illness, you should wait before some more time before deciding to go to a gym. Nowadays, many gyms have adapted to the special conditions and needs and offer virtual classes or training (2).
Can exercise boost your immune system?
Everyone is looking to improve their immune function right now in hopes of warding off coronavirus. While there are many ways to do this, exercise is a cheap, and effective way, that will not only make your body and immunity stronger but will also benefit your psychological condition and help you keep a balance in your daily activities and stress!
That’s right – exercise can actually help to boost your immune system! Here’s how it works:
We often listen to people who train regularly telling that they don’t get flu or it is very rare for them to get sick in winter. This is true because exercise is an immune system adjuvant that not only has a positive effect in your metabolic health, but it also improves your immune system and defense (3).
According to studies, there is an inverse relationship between the risk of getting sick and moderate exercise training. Exercise is considered as an anti-inflammatory factor. Moreover, regular exercise improves the immune system by delaying the onset of age-related dysfunction.
A recently published(2020) study concludes that “regular bouts of moderate to vigorous- intensity exercise are beneficial for the normal functioning of the immune system and likely help lower the risk of respiratory infection/illness and some cancers” (4).
On top of that, academic experts, highlight that “reductions in daily step count from 10,000 to below 1,500 reduced insulin sensitivity in adults” making these people more vulnerable to diseases (5).
How can you exercise at home?
If going to the gym is not a priority for you or you don’t feel safe going there, we give you some useful information to exercise at home safely and effectively. So, how can you get your workout in at home?
If you’ve got a home gym, this part is easy! Of course, this is a bit out of most people’s budget and space, so if you’re not one of the lucky few, what other options do you have for exercising at home?
Here are a few tried-and-true home workout options with a bit of something for everyone!
- Lace up your running shoes and get outside for a jog! Unless you live somewhere that has you strictly quarantined indoors, it’s perfectly OK to get out and enjoy some fresh air. Just make sure to limit your contact with others as much as possible and obey a social distance of 6 feet or more if you meet anyone along the way!
- Got a jump rope in storage somewhere? Grab it and get jumping! Jump roping is fun, easy cardio.
- Turn on the music and dance!
- Who doesn’t have a workout DVD collecting dust somewhere? Pop your favorite in the DVD player and start sweating to the oldies, getting your walk on, or doing some kickboxing!
- Break out your Wii Fit or Nintendo Ring Fit. It’ll be so much fun that you won’t even realize you’re exercising!
Many gyms are streaming live workouts online for FREE! Here are a few to check out (6):
- Planet Fitness – Head to their Facebook page at 7pm ET daily for a workout! You don’t even need to be a PF member.
- Blink Fitness – Workouts, tips, and Q&A each morning on their Facebook at 8am ET.
- Gold’s Gym – Check out their app for hundreds of video and audio workouts free until the end of May!
- Peloton – Nope, you don’t even need the fancy bike (although wouldn’t we all love one?)! Just download the Peloton app and enjoy free workouts for the next month and a half.
- OrangeTheory – A daily 30-minute video will be posted on their website that only requires you to use your own body weight and common household objects!
Other gym streams and apps to consider are CrossFit, Crunch Fitness, 305 Fitness, Fitness Blender, Daily Burn, Blogilates, Aaptiv, Barry’s Bootcamp, CorePower Yoga, Brookland’s Bluebird Sky Yoga, Yoga Heights, Down Dog, and Yoga Del Sol! Some of these may require memberships or app fees. Of course, you can always peruse YouTube for free workout videos!
You can also set up your own DIY circuit training routine! That’s right, you can get a full-body workout in the comfort of your own home just using your own body weight and whatever you have around the house! You can adjust the specific exercises depending on your abilities (or even add some others), it’s totally up to you! We recommend running through this circuit 3 times:
For your back and abs:
- Knee to chest stretches
For your legs
- Jumping jacks
- Squats Jog in Place
For your upper body
- 2 push ups
- Alternate dumbbell rows on each hand (use dumbell, a water bottle, or school bag with some books inside)
- Tricep dips using a chair
- Side shoulder raises using a dumbell or a bottle of water or a bag in each hand filled with books or heavy staff, according to your strength
There are many other exercises that you can perform at home and with little or no equipment at all. Exercise is important in situations like Coronavirus. Staying home doesn’t mean that you become a couch potato! You can train enough to keep your fitness levels and for some of us it could be a good opportunity to spend time for ourselves and get in shape. Exercise strengthens our immune system and will help us keep our inner balance and be less affected by what is going around. Make some space in your room and start transforming your body and soul with exercise!
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Transmission. [online] Available at:
2. Mayo Clinic. 2020. COVID-19 Safety: Tips For Travel, Restaurants, And The Gym. [online] Available at:
5. Wackerhage, H., Everett, R., Krüger, K., Murgia, M., Simon, P., Gehlert, S., Neuberger, E., Baumert, P. and Schönfelder, M., 2020. Sport, exercise and COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Sportmedizin/German Journal of Sports Medicine, 71(5), pp.E1-E12.