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School of Public Health
College of Health Sciences, Makerere University

Physical Exercises on the road during the COVID-19 Epidemic may not be safe

Posted on : Tuesday, April 7, 2020

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Dr John Bosco Ddamulira
Dr John Bosco Ddamulira

By Dr John Bosco Ddamulira

With the current lockdown, places like gyms and other fitness facilities are not operating, leaving limited options for physical exercise. People are now exercising (jogging/walking) on the road more than ever before, with many found in groups of more than five people jogging/walking.

Exercising outside home might be beneficial considering the long hours of stay in one place. However, achieving physical distancing (4m from each other) on the road is almost impossible. Worse still there are big numbers of people on roads with no provision for pedestrians.

Physical activity is good, but given the current circumstances of COVID-19 epidemic and the need to practice physical distancing (about 4m), exercising on the road in groups poses a risk for transmission of the disease.  This is because transmission for COVID-19 occurs frequently among close contact with infected person through droplets expelled in the air, including those infected but do not have symptoms. Since respiratory droplets sprayed into air travel up to six feet, can float in the air for up to three hours before fall to the ground, can stay on surfaces up to 72 hours, when an infected person coughs or sneezes a person may walk/jog through contaminated space or surface.

Exercising from home would be the best, but when this is not possible and you have to go out on the road, observe the 4m distance from another person, jog or walk during off peak hours, may wear a face mask, sanitize or wash your hands with soap and water as soon as you get home, and take off your clothes for washing and take a shower. Exercises on the road are risky, you can achieve the same at home, only go to the road when you must. Keep at home, stay safe.


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