Covid-19 and fitness: Myth-busting

Get the facts and make an informed choice

You may be understandably concerned about Covid-19 and getting back into your exercise routine.

That's why we've put together a myth-busting guide with the help of ukactive, so you can make an informed choice when thinking about returning to one of our centres.

Find answers to your questions below. You can get more information on our temporary closures and re-opening plans on our information hub.

Definitions

According to current evidence from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Covid-19 virus is primarily transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and contact routes.

Respiratory Droplet - The usual medical rule for transfer is that individuals must be in close range for more than 10 minutes to pick up virus through inhaled air (unless someone is spraying saliva as they talk, are sneezing, or coughing).

Contact - Contact an infected surface with your hand and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes.

Questions

Click on your question below to find out more.

1. Can you pass Covid-19 from sweat?

2. Is a leisure centre ‘dirtier’ than a shop?

3. How long will Covid-19 stay on equipment for?

4. Can Covid-19 be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates?

5. Do the enclosed environments of gyms and leisure facilities create higher risk of Covid-19 transmission than other indoor places, such as clothes shops, bars or cinemas, and why?

6. Is there a higher risk of aerosol transmission in gyms and leisure facilities than in other indoor environments, and why?

7. How is Covid-19 transmitted?

8. Can Covid-19 be transmitted in the water of a swimming pool and does this increase the risk of transmission? What is the risk in swimming pools?

9. Is there an increased risk of Covid-19 transmission in a studio compared to the gym floor?

10. Do shared water fountains pose an increased risk of Covid-19 transmission?

11. Do changing rooms/toilets pose an increased risk of Covid-19 transmission?

12. If a person wears a masks or gloves in a gym or leisure facility will it protect them from Covid-19?

13. Does physical activity (exercise) increase resilience to Covid-19, and how?

14. Does air conditioning raise the risk of transmitting Covid-19?

Answers

1. Can you pass Covid-19 from sweat?

  • No, there is no current evidence that the virus can be spread by perspiration (sweat).
  • This is supported for non-respiratory fluids by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) however, limited data is available on sweat/perspiration

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2. Is a leisure centre ‘dirtier’ than a shop?

  • Leisure centres have very high standards when it comes to cleanliness/hygiene and, as we did prior to closing, we will be putting extra measures in place to make sure that both our staff and customers are safe. 
  • For more information on how we're working to keep you safe, visit our re-opening information hub.

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3. How long will Covid-19 stay on equipment for?

  • While the Covid-19 virus can stay on certain surfaces for two or three days, the most important thing to know about coronavirus on surfaces is that they can easily be cleaned with common household disinfectants that will kill the virus, which is already common practice in our centres but will be increased post-opening. 
  • Furthermore, any virus picked up by the hands must be transferred to the mouth/eyes/nose for possible infection to occur. Signage and information in our centres will advise visitors to avoid hand-to-face contact, wash their hands frequently and use of anti-viral/bacterial hand gels. This will further reduce the infection risk.

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4. Can Covid-19 be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates?

  • There is no evidence that Covid-19 is any more transmittable in a hot, humid climate than any other climate. The best way to protect yourself against Covid-19 is by maintaining social distancing and frequent hand washing, and the use of anti-viral/bacterial hand gels. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

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5. Do the enclosed environments of gyms and leisure facilities create higher risk of Covid-19 transmission than other indoor places, such as clothes shops, bars or cinemas, and why?

  • No, there is the same chance of getting Covid-19 in all areas indoors. The key is keeping social distancing in place, follow our cleanliness and aerosolisation guidelines when our centres re-open.

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6. Is there a higher risk of aerosol transmission in gyms and leisure facilities than in other indoor environments, and why?

  • As long as you follow the aerosolisation guidance there is no evidence to suggest that gyms and leisure facilities are a higher risk than any other setting. We will be adhering to the Government's guidelines on aerosolisation.
  • Operators will also take extra consideration in certain areas of the facility, where high-intensity aerobic activity takes part in a confined space with no windows.

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7. How is Covid-19 transmitted?

  • General – The WHO states that the disease spreads primarily from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, which are expelled when a person with Covid-19 coughs, sneezes, or speaks.
  • Faeces – The WHO states that while initial investigations suggest the virus may be present in faeces in some cases, to date, there have not been reports of faecal-oral transmission of Covid-19.

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8. Can Covid-19 be transmitted in the water of a swimming pool and does this increase the risk of transmission? What is the risk in swimming pools?

  • There is no evidence that Covid-19 can be spread to humans through the water of pools, hot tubs or spas.
  • The risk of transmitting person-to-person remains and all standard guidelines should be adhered to i.e. social distancing while in the pool and surrounding areas. We'll provide more guidance on swimming in our re-opening information.

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9. Is there an increased risk of Covid-19 transmission in a studio compared to the gym floor?

  • As long as social distancing, cleanliness and the aerosolisation guidelines are followed then there is no increased risk.

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10. Do shared water fountains pose an increased risk of Covid-19 transmission?

  • As long as all touch points are cleaned pre and post use, water fountains are safe.

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11. Do changing rooms/toilets pose an increased risk of Covid-19 transmission?

  • As long as you follow social distancing and cleanliness guidelines, there is no increased risk.

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12. If a person wears a masks or gloves in a gym or leisure facility will it protect them from Covid-19?

  • Non-PPE certified masks are not certified to prevent the wearer from contracting Covid-19. They may, however, have some value in preventing the wearer from spreading Covid-19.
  • Exercising indoors with a face mask may not be appropriate in all cases - a face mask increases the work of breathing which leads to greater ‘respiratory steal’ (oxygen consumption by the respiratory muscles in breathing), and increase the perception of effort (breathing and exercise).
  • While gloves are useful in some circumstances, in a leisure facility using hand sanitiser and wiping down equipment before and after use is more appropriate.

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13. Does physical activity (exercise) increase resilience to Covid-19, and how?

  • WHO recommend regular physical activity benefits both the body and mind. It can reduce high blood pressure, help manage weight and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers - all conditions that can increase susceptibility to Covid-19.
  • Physical activity leads to improvements in immune health and metabolic health, both of which are linked to Covid-19 risk. Furthermore, physical activity is central in weight management and positive changes in body composition, both of which are linked to Covid-19 risk.

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14. Does air conditioning raise the risk of transmitting Covid-19?

  • The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have advised that the risk of air conditioning spreading coronavirus is extremely low.

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Have you got questions about our centres re-opening?

Visit our information hub for more advice.