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Running Without Risk During the Pandemic

MONDAY, May 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- It's good for you to take a run during the coronavirus pandemic -- and safe if you take precautions, an expert says.

"It's good to get outside, get moving and get some sanity back in such a crazy time," said Grace Neurohr, a physical therapist and running specialist at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore.

Running "can provide some structure to your day and build a routine that can help keep you from feeling bored or unmotivated," she explained in a hospital news release. "It also can help ward off depression or anxiety by releasing endorphins, hormones that help us feel happier, more positive and even hopeful."

There are also physical benefits, including improved heart and lung health. And those who are physically fit have stronger immune systems and an improved ability to fight infection, Neurohr said.

If you run outdoors, remember the importance of social distancing and avoiding others.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, chief medical correspondent for CNN, recommends maintaining 10 to 12 feet of separation during a run, because you're breathing heavily as you work out. Runners' "breath cloud" may contain more virus, he points out.

Pick times and routes that are less likely to be busy.

"Try running earlier in the morning or during your lunch break to avoid the crowds," Neurohr suggested. "Also, try running on trails rather than a busy park or sidewalk. This will allow you more open space, a change of scenery and less frustration trying to dodge others."

Bring a double-layered cloth mask that covers your entire mouth and nose. Use it when you're in crowded areas. But running in an N95 mask is not recommended.

"They make breathing too difficult and should be saved for our health care providers and first responders," Neurohr said. Remember to wash your mask(s) frequently.

If you have a running partner, it should be someone you interact with on a daily basis, like your spouse, your teen, or a close co-worker if you're still going to work. "Now is not the time to introduce new training partners or join a new running group," Neurohr said.

More information

The American Heart Association offers tips on healthy living during the coronavirus pandemic.

SOURCES: LifeBridge Health, news release, April 28, 2020; CNN

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