March 18, 2020 2 min read
As a result of recent developments in the global spread of Coronavirus, and the respiratory illness known as COVID-19 that it causes, health experts worldwide have begun suggesting the implementation of “social distancing”. Through social distancing, we can help slow the spread of the virus to ease the burden on the public health system, and minimize the damage coronavirus could potentially inflict on our society. The basis of this strategy is that we avoid physical interaction with others unless it is absolutely necessary. This could mean that you have to work from home, or that your favorite restaurant or your gym is closed indefinitely. It could leave you wondering: is it safe for me to run during a global pandemic?
While it is true that gyms are dangerous places to be when avoiding an air transmissible virus, it is still very safe to exercise outside. The odds of you catching coronavirus on a solo run outdoors are incredibly low, as long as you do your best to keep your distance from others and follow the well-established guidelines of not touching your mouth, nose, or eyes. And there are more benefits to going for a run than just staying in shape.
There is extensive medical evidence that regular exercise can help the immune system fight off both contagious viruses such as coronavirus, and non-contagious conditions like cancer or other chronic disorders. Continuing your routine can help you keep your immune system in peak condition. Also, while it was previously thought that immediately following bouts of intense exercise the body exhibits suppressed immunological function, recent evidence has shown the opposite. In fact, following a strenuous run, some studies have shown that the body redistributes white blood cells to organs such as the lungs or the stomach, to fight off any pathogens that could cause infection.
As the inhabitants of a society currently pulling out all the stops to limit the damage done by coronavirus, it is our responsibility to do all we can to pitch in. We need to change doing much of our daily routine in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, but one of the things you shouldn’t stop doing is running. By keeping your immune system functioning at its best, you’re doing your part to “flatten the curve” and stop coronavirus in its tracks.
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