Thirsty (for knowledge) Thursday: Running Safely Amid COVID-19

>> Thursday, April 02, 2020

Runner's World shared some tips for running during our "stay at home" orders amid COVID-19. (MN currently has "stay at home" orders, which still allows for walking, running, and biking outside.) They interviewed 2 Doctors (a health professor/director of the Human Performance Lab and professor at the School for Public Health) for their input:

Is it safe to run outside?

Yes - as long as you’re alone. When people congregate together and someone sneezes or coughs, droplets get onto objects that people touch, and then people touch their face, Nieman explains. The best plan for running right now is to go out for a solo run and enjoy the outdoors, in noncrowded areas. And, try timing your run for when you know the trails will be less crowded.

Additionally, people might be afraid to run in the colder weather for fear of illness, but that’s not true; there is no data that you will get sick from really any respiratory pathogen when running in cold weather, Nieman says.

Getting in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to brisk activity can help your immune system keep viruses at bay. Be sure you know what’s going on in your area and if there are any restrictions or mandatory self-quarantines. And, if you’re sick or at-risk of spreading the virus, you shouldn’t go out - the bigger concern is spreading it to those who are at high risk, such as the elderly or immunocompromised.

During a self quarantine, Nieman suggests doing some exercise while staying where you are quarantined to keep healthy - doing bodyweight exercises or running on an at-home treadmill are great ways to do this. Unless you’re sick.

“If you do have flu or coronavirus, or have fever, sick people think wrongly they can ‘exercise the virus out of the system’ or ‘sweat it out,’ that’s a myth. It’s actually the opposite,” Neiman says.

So REST if you are sick. I have a runner friend on the east coast who's getting over COVID-19, and she's mentioned that just moving puts her out of breath. And as a lover of winter running, I could have told you (and I'm glad to hear science back me up on this) that you don't have a greater risk of getting sick from breathing in cold air.

Can you run outside during a shelter-in-place mandate?

Effective March 19, residents of the state of California were ordered to shelter in place until further notice, meaning everyone is to stay inside their homes and away from others as much as possible. However, as outlined in the directive first put in place in San Francisco, for example, most shelter-in-place mandates allow for people to go outside and engage in solo outdoor activity, such as running, walking, and hiking, as long as people practice safe social distancing (stay six feet apart), do not gather in groups, and do not go out if they are feeling sick.

Other states, including New York, New Jersey, and Illinois have statewide mandates, and other cities and counties, including San Miguel County in Colorado, Blaine County in Idaho, and Athens-Clarke County in Georgia have implemented similar measures.

Overall, be sure to check your local public health recommendations and the current health mandates in your area, found on your state and local government website before heading outside for a solo workout. (You can find a directory of state health departments here.)

My wife and I made sure of this before we continued our workouts.

Should you avoid running in groups?


I don't feel the need to quote the rest of that section. Just a simple/easy YES. Do NOT run in groups. As of 2 weeks ago, the CDC recommended that for the next 8 weeks, in-person events that consist of 50 people or more should be canceled or postponed. Runner's World goes on to note that... "If you find yourself on a crowded route, you should protect yourself by spreading out and maintaining distance 6 feet apart from other runners (the recommendation for safe social distancing) and avoiding unnecessary hand-touching. And of course, don’t forget to wash your hands when you get back."

RELATED FROM RUNNER'S WORLD: here are 4 more links regarding COVID-19:
Free streaming workouts
To spit or not to spit (while running)
Dealing with a canceled race
"Stretching" your training if your race was postponed

For more "Thirsty Thursday" posts that highlight workouts, body science, and all kinds of interesting information, CLICK HERE. As always, back with some "Friday Funnies" tomorrow.


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