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The Do’s & Don’ts of Jogging in the Age of Coronavirus

Low angle view of a young couple jogging on the beach

As much of the world shelters in place to stop the spread of coronavirus, even the most hard-core health officials say that it’s still okay to head outside for a run. To this end, The New York Times published a helpful Q&A for jogging in the age of COVID-19:

  • Can I use drinking fountains along my route? “We don’t have any data about how long the virus remains infectious on water fountains,” says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist with the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University. “But, given their proximity to other people’s mouths and noses, I would say you should not.”
  • If I am running the prescribed six feet behind someone on the path and they cough, will I jog right through their germs? The science about how long the novel virus remains in the air is still unsettled. But it is conceivable that droplets containing the virus could linger long enough for you to breathe them in if you closely follow someone who is ill and the wind does not disperse the germs first. This precise scenario remains unlikely but not impossible, so look for the “least-crowded paths” available, and perhaps swerve aside if someone coughs or spits ahead of you.
  • Should I take my shoes off before going in the house? “This is a good rule of thumb,” says Saskia Popescu, a senior infection-prevention epidemiologist at HonorHealth in Arizona. No one knows if the coronavirus sticks to shoes, she says, “but they carry a lot of gunk in general, so leave them at the door.”
  • How fast am I going to become unfit if I am stuck inside all day? The good news is that Wall-E-style slovenliness probably does not await us. But if we abruptly and substantially reduce our workouts, we will experience some amount of physiological detraining, says Charles Pedlar, an associate professor of exercise science at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham, England. In a 2018 study he led, fit runners who voluntarily slashed their mileage after a marathon developed lower blood volume and other changes to their hearts and cardiovascular systems within about two weeks and began to struggle on the treadmill during strenuous running.

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