Playing sports provides many benefits like getting fit, improving your heart health, and increasing your strength, says Shabbir Noor, who runs Recycle Studio. Taking extra precautions to safeguard yourself from the Coronavirus can be achieved. Besides the familiar precautions recommended by scientists and doctors including washing our hands, wearing a mask, and social distancing; there are further ways to safeguard yourself and others around you.
Playing sports at this time comes with its fair share of risks, but you can still get your heart rate pumping and break a sweat – albeit with a few enhanced safety practices.
Before you pick up that ball, here are some factors to consider when playing sports during a pandemic.
Assess Your Comfort
Now is the time to trust your gut. Andrew Blakey, Owner of Your Future Fitness says that the first thing that you should consider when playing sports during the pandemic is whether or not you feel comfortable with the safety measures the organization has put into place. If you feel like something is missing, let the organization know and see what they have to say about it! Rest assured, numerous people will benefit from your suggestions
Bring Your Own Equipment
Justin Nabity, Founder and CEO of the Physicians Thrive advises that it is also a good idea to bring your own equipment in order to not touch items touched by other people.
Although equipment may be available to rent, you can never be too sure of how thoroughly they disinfect these things. Also, you will avoid putting people at risk should you accidentally pass on germs without knowing. Don’t forget to bring your own towels and toiletries for washing up afterwards.
Choose Low Contact Sports
Sports are great physical activities which strengthen the immune system, assures Lewis Keegan, the Owner and Operator of SkillScouter. A strong immune system has better chances of fighting viruses than those inferior. However, there are sports called contact sports which may not be the best physical activity option, especially during the pandemic.
Do not mistake me, says Keegan – these still build your endurance and immunity but these types of sports will only increase the transmission of the virus from one person to another, which is counterproductive. Therefore, sports that are still great for physical and mental health without compromising viral transmission should be chosen instead. This includes sports with no-close contact with other players like tennis and badminton, and ones where you can still wear safety equipment like chess.
If you are able and if it is safe, playing sports in a pandemic is one of the best things you can do, specifically if it’s outdoors, adds Tess DiNapoli, Freelance Writer and Editor at Selkirk. Outdoor sports allow more airflow so air particles are not confined to one space like an indoor court, and it’s unlikely that there’s any shared equipment, meaning a lower risk of the virus spreading.
Exercising outside gives you the opportunity to breathe fresh air and be surrounded by all the healthy bacteria that nature provides. Playing sports can do wonders for your mental health, as you can relieve stress and get those endorphins going!
That being said, says DiNapoli, there are a few things to consider when playing sports during a pandemic. Indoor sports are not recommended just yet unless you are comfortable playing with a mask on, but this can be potentially dangerous as it restricts your breathing.
Also, consider if the sport you want to play requires contact with other people — if yes, you may want to wait it out until it’s safer to play contact sports. You may also want to pick another sport temporarily if the one you want to play requires sharing equipment with other people. It’s a great opportunity to learn something new!
Sports are not exempt from innovations in technology. You can now utilize online platforms to stay connected, notes James Herrera, Physical Health and Wellness Director of Wounded Warrior Project. Apps like Strava (Garmin and Fitbit have group capabilities as well) are a great way to stay connected with friends, teams, or sports clubs. Create time, distance, elevation challenges, or unofficial races to keep the competitive fires burning.
Train or compete with groups online. The cycling group Zwift has a brilliant platform for online competition or engagement. Last year’s Wounded Warrior Project Infinite Challenge offered veterans an opportunity to compete in running, cycling, archery, and CrossFit workouts all from the comfort of their home area.
Sports can provide you with countless mental and physical benefits, but should still be approached with caution at this time. Do not play sports that pose high risks for transmission, and do not do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. The sooner you continue to practice these safety tips, the sooner things will hopefully go back to normal.