Sport | Columnists
Sean Van Staden
There is so much misleading information out there and there are so many conspiracy theories, who do you believe?
For those who have chosen an active lifestyle such as regular gym, crossfit, triathlons and social sporting participation are at a higher risk of being infected. The question begs, do you stop going and doing these events?
I was about to book my flight to Fibo Germany, the world’s biggest trade show for fitness and performance.
I had already received my business invites and media accreditation but just a few days ago I got word that they postponed the event until October and only if the coronavirus doesn’t lock the country down.
There were reportedly 150 cases of infection and the fear of an international event spreading to various countries was not worth the risk.
My suppliers in China only resumed work this past week because the government enforced people not to go to work.
With all this stress lurking in the air what is an athlete to do?
Train in a public space or not?
To make matters worse, the first reported case of a local person infected with the virus was in Durban after coming back from a trip from Italy.
How is this even possible, you ask, especially since they are scanning you up to three times from the plane to the entry gates?
Symptoms may only show up to 14 days after infection according to US Centre for Disease Control (CDC). This is probably when the disease is spreading once ground zero has been established.
Healthier people have a better chance of fighting most diseases because their bodies are more efficient and resilient.
The healthier you are, the better your chances of fighting the disease.
Like the common flu and cold, there is no cure for it yet so it will be up to you and the hospital to fight it out.
With regards to training, here are some common guidelines from CDC modified for active athletes and some added advice:
1. Clean your equipment before you use it. Touch spreads germs and if you are in love with iron, then make sure you take precaution.
2. Bring your own water bottles to gym. Refrain from using the public water fountain as touch is where the virus spreads.
3. If you have it, seek immediate attention but notify the doctor in advance so he can prepare with masks for your visit.
4. Choose sports like swimming because it will be classified as lower risk than using a gym, and the good thing about the virus is it can’t swim. Tongue in cheek of course.
5. Public events like triathlons, cycling events and marathons put you more at risk. But the show can still go on provided events choose not to have spectators in key areas. Spectators in a confined space run the risk of infecting a larger audience. Some marathons overseas have continued without fans.
6. Train by yourself. It might be lonely at first, but it will be good for you. Take the time to focus on your business career, your life, your current situation. Often when there are too many people in one room, you don’t reflect inwards to focus. If you really can’t, then buy some data and WhatsApp a friend or family member to keep you company on your jog.
7. If there was ever a good reason to start eating healthy, now is the time. Unhealthy people with unhealthy lifestyles have a high risk of not fighting the disease if it goes viral in your city.
8. If you see that someone has a cold, try to stay at least two metres from the firing line. Through coughing and sneezing, the virus spreads.
9. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. A quick wash with antibacterial soap needs time to kill off the germs on your hands and face so take the time and visualise yourself killing the little buggers and then rinse off. Don’t forget to use a tissue to close the tap or open the door.
10. Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes too often as this is how the virus spreads. You touch a surface that might have the virus and then your nose itches and then you infect yourself.
11. Don’t be scared to stay home if you are sick, send photos to your boss so he believes you but when you are ill, the best thing you can do is stay away from the public eye and contribute to not spreading the virus. Also make sure you invest in some masks, you don’t want your kids or wife getting ill as well.
12. If you have a fever, or are coughing and lightheaded, contact your doctor ahead of time so he can prepare face masks and his office for your arrival. Doctors are not immune to disease so don’t just pitch up unannounced otherwise you will be sharing the same quarantined ward at your local hospital.
In summary, the above advice should be your norm no matter if there is a virus or not. Get into the routine of practicing good habits for yourself, your family and others.
For athletes and fitness warriors, the fear of not training is a real one; something a mere mortal won’t understand because it is life itself but in having said that, start thinking of alternative ways to keep fit and health, set up your gym at home and choose your training environments and competitions carefully.
Sean van Staden is a sport scientist. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanVStaden or visit advancedsp.co.za.
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