Is it too risky to go for a run?
GIVEN we’re all in lockdown mode, it’s never been more important to stay active. For our physical, as well as our mental, health.
Much has been said about whether we should be exercising in gyms (answer: no), in outdoor Bootcamps (again, no) and even going for a run outside (stay tuned).
Initially, medical professionals agreed that the main cause for infection happened via person-to-person contact, or by coming in contact with a contaminated surface – consider this a friendly reminder to wash your vegies.
But now, there is growing evidence that infection can also happen by viral droplets in the air (and subsequently, a rethink on if and when we should wear a surgical face mask by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Previously, jogging outside was said to be relatively safe by professionals but this rise in concern about airborneborne infection raised questions for us, so we decided to call in the experts to make a call, given what we know to date.
Although it is possible to contract COVID-19 while on an outdoors run, it’s not likely.
Swiftdoc founder Richard McMahon explained to body+soul that the risk of catching coronavirus mostly came down to the running route chosen.
“The danger is less about going for a run and more about those you may encounter along the way. COVID-19 is spread by coughing and sneezing, or coming into contact with contaminated surfaces,” Dr McMahon said.
“If you follow the recommendations such as running solo, staying away from crowds and washing your hands thoroughly when you get home, your risk of catching COVID-19 while running is minimal.
“You can mitigate any risks during your run and protect yourself and others by keeping your distance.
“Make sure you run alone and in non-crowded areas, avoiding other people where possible.”
To elaborate, Paul Griffin the director of Mater Hospitals infectious diseases department, told the ABC it was possible for individuals to inhale viral droplets from passers-by when jogging.
“With the droplet spread, we know that you need a fairly significant interaction to be susceptible to getting this and the public health definition is 15 minutes of face-to-face, or two hours in the same room.
Clearly, if you walk past someone it’s a lot less than that,” Associate Professor Griffin said.
He added: “But hopefully not enough to get infected.”
“What we don’t want is people (to) go out exercising and congregate in a big group and spend time chatting or get a coffee or whatever together, which is a risk.”
CHOOSE SOLO: The risk of infection while running outside is low, but it's still there.