Safety of Gyms in the Covid-19 Era

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Mind Pump: Episode 1389


As Hong Kong once again increases it’s restrictions on public movement by closing public spaces and activity centres such as gyms, it seems relevant to repost this blog I originally wrote in September 2020.

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A new study has revealed there is no correlation to increased cases of COVID-19 in people visiting health and fitness facilities, compared to the general population. In fact, the study clearly shows that people who attend gyms are much less likely to test positive for COVID-19.

In this study of almost 50 million users over a period of three months in the USA, comprising data from a multitude of major gyms and health facilities. The tested positive rate for COVID-19 was at 0.0023%. This is 500 times less than the current USA national average.

This makes a lot of logical sense, as people who attend gyms would tend to be of a more healthy population. Also, only the most enthusiastic gym bunny would go to the gym if they weren’t feeling well. The first thing that’s removed from our day when we feel sick is exercise of one form or another. And if you feel sick, the gym is the last place you would want to go. You would still maybe visit the supermarket, or restaurant to get some food. But the gym would be off your daily routine until better health is restored.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, I was vocal in questioning the foresight of shutting down gyms and activity centres in Hong Kong. It frustrated me, as it felt blindingly obvious that if there was ever a time when people needed fitness facilities and opportunities to be active, it was now. And the further we go into this pandemic, the more studies are clearly showing the correlation between levels of health for either recovery or mortality. 

This recent meta-analysis of 75 other studies, clearly shows a direct link between COVID-19 mortality and obesity. It found that statistically obese people who contracted COVID-19, versus people of healthy weight were:

  • 113% more likely to be hospitalised.
  • 74% more likely to be admitted to ICU.
  • 48% more likely to die.

Whilst most of the world is fixated on the cure and vaccine. Many health enthusiasts are doubling down on whole foods, vitamins and antioxidants to ensure prevention, or fast recovery if the virus is contracted.

Hong Kong has now reopened gyms and most sports centres after being closed for two months. This at least is a positive step. The next thing they must do is open beaches and allow the public easy access to outdoor areas and vitamin D from the sun.

Vitamin D was identified early in the pandemic as a nutrient with positive effects against the virus. New studies show that in patients over the age of 40, people with sufficient levels of vitamin D were 51% less likely to die from the virus. It is also strongly indicated that adequate levels of vitamin D reduced the chance of being infected by the virus by 54%.

The conclusion of these studies are clear. Exercise, natural sunlight, healthy whole food eating. These are the real prevention methods we should all use to fight the virus.

Stay strong. Stay healthy. Stay alive.

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