With novel coronavirus top of mind, many fitness enthusiasts are wondering whether the virus can be transmitted through sweat.
“Because this is from the Coronavirus family that causes other respiratory viruses, the assumption is that it is spread basically two ways: respiratory droplets, which is not airborne, that’s different,” explained ABC News Chief Medical Editor Dr. Jennifer Ashton.
“These are large, viral particles. They’re heavy so they fall, but if you’re within three to six feet of someone who’s coughing and sneezing, that’s one likely way of transmission,” Ashton explained.
“The other one is contact. I touch something, I shake your hand, then I touch my face, that’s why we say hand-washing is critically important in reducing transmission.”
Since we all touch the same equipment at gyms, fitness and yoga studios, many franchise owners and corporations are taking extra cleaning measures.
“Our cleaning crews are coming in more often,” said Rumer Richardson, owner of Beyond Studios in Dallas. “If one of us goes down as a team member, we all go down. We share mics, we share sound systems… and then our instructors who are going from studio to studio teaching.”
TruFusion also hired additional cleaning staff. A spokesperson told WFAA that between classes, everything from yoga blocks to bands, bikes and slam balls are all disinfected.
Coast to coast, chains like Barry’s Bootcamp and CorePower Yoga sent emails to clients detailing an amplified strategy, like adding anti-bacterial wipe dispensers and discouraging the sharing of cups and water bottles.
“You never know. You don’t want people getting sick walking out of your gym,” said Brian Casad, co-owner of Paradigm Gym and Title Boxing Uptown in Dallas.
Casad bought a new piece of heavy equipment to deep clean floors and surfaces inside all of their shared spaces.
“Everything that people touch,” Casad said. “We make sure that people are spraying stuff down. We make sure that we are cleaning the floors because people get on the floors as well.”
All of the studio and franchise owners we asked told us that their enhanced attention to cleaning is a permanent change—not temporary.
“We’re already really stringent about our cleaning so we wipe down [our Pilates reformers] after every class. We have clients wipe down, and after every set of classes, we wipe down,” Richardson said.
And perhaps the most important point that was echoed by leaders in the fitness field: if you’re sick, stay away from the gym.
Richardson has even waived cancellation fees for anyone who drops a class at Beyond Studios because they don’t feel well. It’s simple.
“We’ll send them an email to reschedule,” Richardson said.