fitness · illness · weight lifting

Fitness in the time of pandemics: Working out alone or together, at home or at the gym?

It feels selfish to be writing about fitness from the perspective of staring down a possible pandemic, but I confess when I think about home quarantine from my self-interested point of view, exercise is one of things I think about. It’s not just keeping my fitness I’m worried about, though there is that. Working out and movement feel like they’re central to my emotional health and mental well-being.

That’s not all I think about of course when it comes to the possible coronavirus pandemic.

Over on Twitter, I think about covid-19 from the perspective of an academic administrator.

I worry about it a lot as a humanitarian crisis.

I worry about it as a problem for society when I have friends tweeting about cheap airfares. I think there’s an obligation to do all that we can do to slow down transmission of the virus. Likely that means staying home.

As a feminist philosopher, and as a human being, I worry about how quickly people move to say that covid-19 isn’t that dangerous because it’s only really a threat to the elderly and those with underlying conditions. What does that say about which lives we value?

I like this reframing.

I worry about political systems, especially south of the border, and the need for affordable health care, paid sick leave, and testing.

Lots to worry about but I like it that’s there’s some practical things we can all do to prepare.

Again, I like the framing this piece on preparing for pandemics as a pro-social action offers us.

“Be ready? But how? It seems to me that some people may be holding back from preparing because of their understandable dislike of associating such preparation with doomsday or “prepper” subcultures. Another possibility is that people may have learned that for many people the disease is mild, which is certainly true, so they don’t think it’s a big risk to them. Also, many doomsday scenarios advise extensive preparation for increasingly outlandish scenarios, and this may seem daunting and pointless (and it is). Others may not feel like contributing to a panic or appearing to be selfish.

Forget all that. Preparing for the almost inevitable global spread of this virus, now dubbed COVID-19, is one of the most pro-social, altruistic things you can do in response to potential disruptions of this kind.”

But back to fitness. And back to just thinking about why I might do if I had to spend stretches of time isolated from others.

I take it there’s no reason not to ride my bike out alone in the world. I can carry my own snacks. While big races are being cancelled, there is no reason not to ride outside of big crowds, assuming I’m not actually quarantined.

There’s also Yoga with Adriene and walks in the woods with Cheddar. Both will be just fine even if I’m staying at home more to avoid public gatherings.

I’m not sure what I think about working out at the gym, especially the student gym though. And I’m not sure what I think about yoga in the close quarters of the studio.

Lots of photos of walking in the snow with Cheddar and a bonus friend’s dog. Hi Emilie!

I also belong to a 24 hour discount fitness club. Maybe I could go there and take disinfectant wet wipes, wash my hands often, and work out there in the wee hours? I’m not sure. I’m considering buying a set of dumbbells for home use.

A gym, Photo by Mark Bertulfo on Unsplash

Certainly we’ll set up our home TRX.

Here’s the fitness routine of quarantined racing cyclists!

What are your thoughts about the gym in times of avoiding crowds and germ-y surfaces? I’m still thinking this through. I’d appreciate your thoughts.

If you’re still thinking about what all of this means for you, I recommend following Helen Branswell on Twitter and following STAT news on coronovirus. Normally that’s behind a paywall but it’s free now for that topic only. Also give The Coronavirus isn’t going away a listen.

4 thoughts on “Fitness in the time of pandemics: Working out alone or together, at home or at the gym?

  1. It doesn’t hurt to wipe down shared gym equipment.

    Honest, if one isn’t sick, being outdoors in a park, seems like a good thing. Don’t need to have hardly anyone around you. If you’re cycling, that’s even better. Sometimes the answer for exercise if you’re still healthy….and if weather is good…is outside. Even going for a walk. That’s my natural tendency.

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