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Is My Health Club Putting Me At A Higher Risk Of Contracting Coronavirus?

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We’re asking public health officials and experts to answer your questions about the coronavirus outbreak. Please keep in mind that what is known about the virus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, is still evolving. This information does not constitute professional medical advice. For questions regarding your own health, always consult a physician.

Health officials are advising the public to limit exposure to events and locations with large groups of people amid the COVID-19 outbreak — aka exercise “social distancing.” Given that advice, you may be wondering what that means for you and your fitness routine. We certainly are.

This question came up in our own newsroom: Do health clubs put you at a higher risk of contracting the virus?

Despite being people-magnets and arguably hotbeds for germs, the answer is no. UCLA Pulmonologist Doctor Russell Buhr says taking precautions will go a long way towards mitigating contraction:

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“The risk is not that you’re going to pick up a virus floating around in the air in those situations, but more so that, if sick people are going into them and leaving virus behind and then touching the surfaces and touching your face, et cetera, that’s when you’d be at risk.”

As for saunas, Buhr says viruses tend to get deactivated pretty quickly in hot environments. Here are some helpful sanitary tips from Dr. Buhr:
  • Wipe down gym equipment before and after use
  • Use hand sanitizer in between sets whenever moving on to new equipment
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds after your workout