Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, going out and getting fresh air can potentially be as challenging (and, in some cases) as dangerous as jogging across a busy freeway. Medical researchers around the world say COVID-19 is primarily spread through person-to-person droplets — in some cases, by those without symptoms — so every encounter with a stranger could present a chance to get infected. But there is also the need to go out and spend time in the sun and the outdoors which is just as important to prevent mental fatigue, and to help keep stress and depression at bay (via HuffPost).
If you do decide to go out for a run or a bike ride, there are ways to keep yourself safe outdoors, which includes social distancing (or keeping six feet of distance between you and another person). That doesn’t mean you need to avoid people altogether since running or walking past someone doesn’t carry the same amount of risk as being in the same room with someone carrying on a conversation. And if you can, you’ll need to wear a face mask when you head outdoors for cardio, because they decrease the risk of spreading the virus if you are asymptomatic yourself.
However, if the quarantine has you thinking about amping up your exercise routine considerably, or starting a new hard-core routine, you might want to think again.
Now is not the time to exercise more
Because you have more time on your hands, you might think of this as the perfect time to become a buffer, better version of you. While you might be tempted to up the exercise ante by pushing yourself a little bit harder and longer, that urge might end up causing more harm than good. The CDC recommends that you should be getting 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, and muscle strengthening exercises twice a week. If you’re good with going over those limits as part of your regular routine, you should be fine. But specialists say you start to lose benefits if you go beyond 300 minutes of working out (via USA Today).
Doctors say you’ll know when you’ve worked out too hard. You’ll likely feel symptoms that include loss of appetite, headaches, muscle soreness, fatigue, an irregular pulse, and irritability — and most importantly, a weakened immune system. Will you be more susceptible to illnesses like the coronavirus if you push yourself too hard? The medical jury is still out on that, but the current medical thought is to avoid overtraining in geographic areas where there is a significant spread of COVID-19.
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