Flatten that Curve and Stay Healthy During Your Self-Quarantine

There’s this old curse: May you live in interesting times. It doesn’t seem so bad at first. But then the interesting times hit and everybody rushes Costco and you have no idea when you’ll be able to buy toilet paper again.

The reality of the coronavirus pandemic hit hard this week. First they postponed the concerts and the conferences, then they curtailed the travel, then they suggested we work from home if we could, then they shut down the schools and restaurants and bars and told us not to leave our houses. It all happened so fast.

The goal behind these measures is only partly to prevent infection. Even more, it’s about spreading those infections out over time to prevent overloading our healthcare system. It’s about flattening the curve.

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Nobody knows how long this will last. There’s a good chance it will go on for months, with a huge effect on our lives and on the economy. In the meantime, our focus is on staying healthy and on not spreading infection:

  • Stay home if possible
  • Keep a distance of six feet between yourself and other people
  • Wear a mask if you have symptoms
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue
  • Wash your hands frequently, with soap, for at least 20 seconds
  • Regularly disinfect touched surfaces

The virus has been shown to be present in the air up to three hours post-aerosolization (after a sneeze or cough, for example). It also survives up to four hours on copper surfaces, 24 hours on cardboard, and two to three days on plastic or stainless steel. So just about anything you touch or breathe could be infected. It’s a great time to be a germaphobe! 

  • If you do get sick, the advice for most people is to remain home. Unless you’re older, part of an at-risk population group, or your condition is worsening (eg difficulty breathing), it’s best to stay isolated to prevent spreading the virus to others. For the majority of people, the COVID-19 illness will remain relatively mild, so there’s no need to add yourself to an already stressed healthcare system.

How Do You Stay Fit When You’re Locked Out of the Gym?

If you’re a regular at your local gym, the prospect of weeks or months shut in your own home is no fun at all. You can feel your abs softening just thinking about it. You don’t own a treadmill or a weight set or a stationary bike. There’s no room for all that. That’s what the gym is for!

Fortunately there are indoor exercise alternatives. Resistance tubing is an effective, low-cost replacement for weights, and you can hide it in a drawer when you’re finished. You can browse YouTube for tons of guided yoga and core workout videos. And it probably wouldn’t hurt to slip out of the house for a walk or jog every once in a while—just do it where you’ve got some distance between yourself and other people.

Is It Okay to Exercise During a Pandemic?

Yes! And you should! A healthy lifestyle boosts your immune system, making you less likely to suffer the consequences of illness. However, you still need to keep in mind all the standard precautions discussed above. Modify your fitness plan accordingly. And if you do get sick, take it easy! Let your body recover without putting it under any unnecessary stress.

And so until we get the all-clear, let’s keep our hands clean and we’ll get through this together—or maybe six feet apart!