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Coronavirus Guidance for Exercise

Tuesday 17 March 2020

It is natural that people are worried about the implications of Coronavirus but one thing which remains the same is the importance of staying active.

It is crucial that members of the public continue to lead active lives throughout this period to keep your body and mind fit and healthy.  Exercise can help to boost your immune system and has a hugely positive impact on mental and physical well-being. Staying active will help to:

  • Reduce anxiety and improve your mental health
  • Help improve balance, posture, flexibility and prevent falls
  • Improve your muscle and bone health
  • Help control symptoms of chronic diseases
  • Improve the health of your heart
  • Give you more energy
  • Reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Help with relaxation and sleep quality
  • Reduce pain

Jersey Sport, as the independent body for sport and active living in Jersey, has been in constant dialogue with Government officials to ascertain exactly what the current advice means and how this should be interpreted.

In consultation with the Government of Jersey and the Assistant Minister for Sport, Jersey Sport has issued the following advice on how to safely continue to exercise and enjoy our beautiful island.

Is it safe to exercise outside?

It is important that people understand that unless you have been asked to self-isolate, there is no need to stop going outside and being active however you must follow Government advice on social distancing and how to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

It is worth noting that studies have found that after an intensive exercise session (e.g. to fatigue), your immune system does not function as well as it normally does. This means that in the hours following the session, if you have been exposed to someone who has been sick with the flu or Coronavirus, your body’s defences are down.

It may be worth considering avoiding intense workouts whilst the risk of contracting coronavirus remains higher.

Is it OK to exercise in groups with others outside?

Over 65: It is advised that you DO NOT exercise in groups.

Under 65: You can continue to exercise in groups however you should follow the government guidance on hand and respiratory hygiene. You may also wish to consider some aspects of social distancing such as:

  • Spread out in your groups. Keep a distance of 1 metre (3 feet) from others
  • Avoid kissing, shaking hands and hugging people
  • Do not include social gatherings such as coffee stops or social time after group activities

Should I avoid touching things outside?

It may be possible that a person can get Coronavirus by touching a surface or object (e.g. traffic light) that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or  eyes. Consider wearing gloves, avoid touching your face and maintain excellent hand hygiene.

If you are using ‘communal’ bikes it is suggested that you wipe handlebars down with an antibacterial wipe before use and wear gloves. Be sure to wash your hands as soon as you can afterwards and avoid touching your face.

Can Coronavirus be spread through sweat?

The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick. (WHO)

I don’t like exercising outside; Can I go to the gym to exercise?

Over 65: It is advised that you DO NOT go to community leisure facilities.

Under 65: Yes – currently leisure facilities are still open. If you do use community and leisure facilities, follow the Gov.je guidance on hand hygiene and make sure you clean and wipe down equipment before and after you use it.

It’s hard to stay motivated, what can I do to help myself?

Consider setting yourself small goals each day with maybe a weekly bigger target.

Aim to continue to exercise at the level you were before the Coronavirus outbreak. No matter what your level of physical fitness, aim to exercise at a ‘moderate intensity’  meaning that both your heart and breathing rates should increase, and you might break a sweat, but you should still be able to hold a conversation.

If after any form of physical activity you feel more breathless than usual or just unwell, stop and don’t do any more until your symptoms have resolved.  If you are worried, seek medical advice.

Some ideas for exercising outside and enjoying our island (we have included some links to helpful resources):

  • Take a walk or run on one of our many beaches, parks and coastal paths
  • Take a bike ride along the green lanes or along the cycle routes
  • Consider a scavenger hunt with your children
  • Get on your wellies and enjoy playing in some mud in St Catherine’s woods or splashing in the rock pools on the beaches
  • Make the most of local parks. You don’t have to use play apparatus but if you do, wipe them down before and after your children use them.
    • Take a football out and enjoy a kick around
    • Do a ‘bug hunt’ or look for local wildlife / birds
    • Consider flying a kite
  • Get out in the garden
    • do some weeding
    • consider planting some flowers or some vegetables
    • do you have a trampoline – get out jumping!
    • Set up an obstacle course for you and your family

If you are out and about, we’d love to see what you are up to.  Please don’t forget to post on your social media channels and use the hashtag #movemorejersey.

For more ideas and hints / tips on exercising then please go to our Move More website and monitor our social media channels for up to date information.

Follow us on Instagram @jerseysportje and Facebook @jerseysportofficial

Move with us on Instagram and Facebook @movemorejersey and visit: http://www.movemore.je 

 

Please note guidance from Government is regularly changing and this guidance note will be updated accordingly. For up to date Government of Jersey advice on Coronavirus please see: https://www.gov.je/health/coronavirus/Pages/index.aspx